Leaders from the three main Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – gathered at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus last week to celebrate Abraham Day, the University reports.
In what has become a flagship event for the University and Fremantle community, Notre Dame welcomed Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe SDB, Chief Rabbi Dovid Freilich OAM and Sheikh Muhammad Agherdien to reflect on the theme, "Abraham: Welcoming and standing up for the other".
Drawing on the wisdom and teaching of their respective cultures, each speaker reflected on Abraham, the father of the three religions and a model of openness, hospitality and generosity.
“I want to suggest that our three religious traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have a vital role to play and precious resources to bear in helping our society to become worthy of the gift of human life we’ve all received from our Creator – from whom we’ve all come and to whom we will all return,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
Describing Abraham as “the quintessential example of hospitality”, Rabbi Freilich said even those who are not Abraham’s people or are malevolent should be deserving of equal care.
“Through God and Abraham we are shown to be role models and value the lives of every human being. And I’m proud to say that we see this in the spiritual grandchildren of Abraham,” he said.
Sheik Agherdien said one of Abraham’s major roles in Islam was to be a “father of the faithful” and, in turn, developing a holy, righteous and peaceful community.
“Abraham symbolises what a nation should be like, how they should live, how they should conduct themselves, and how they should function in a good, well-established model society,” he said.
The event coincided with a three-week travelling exhibition hosted by Notre Dame entitled, "Courage to Care". The exhibition is an initiative of the Holocaust Institute of Western Australia, which encourages secondary school students to stand up for others in the face of injustice and persecution.
Religious leaders gather at Notre Dame on day for all (University of Notre Dame)