ICCJ International Abrahamic Forum - Committee

ICCJ International Abrahamic Forum - Committee

Ehud Bandel - IAF Co-Chair

Rabbi Ehud Bandel, IAF Co-Chair, is a native of Jerusalem. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jewish History and Jewish Philosophy and holds a Master degree in Judaic studies from The Jewish Theological Seminary in America. In 1988, he graduated the first class of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem and was the first native Israeli to be ordained as a Masorti (Conservative) Rabbi in Israel. For five years, he was the director of “Noam” - the Masorti Youth Movement and between 1997 and 2005, he served as the President and CEO of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel. In 2006, he moved with his family to Melbourne Australia and served five years as the rabbi of Kehilat Nitzan, Melbourne's first Conservative (Masorti) congregation. Rabbi Bandel is very active in interfaith and human rights issues. He was the Chair of the Young Leadership Council of the ICCJ and currently serves as the 1st Vice President of ICCJ and Co-Chair of the International Abrahamic Forum. Rabbi Bandel was the Founding Director of Rabbis for Human Rights; in 2011, he received in the US the Gandhi Peace Award for promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Rabbi Bandel is married to Avital, and father of Naama, Hadas and Ro'i.


Mustafa Baig - IAF Co-Chair

Dr. Mustafa R.K. Baig is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, having previously been Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Manchester. His major research interest is in the function of Islamic jurisprudence in non-Muslim jurisdictions, looking at both classical and modern(ist) conceptions. He has just completed his PhD thesis on this topic. He has a long-standing interest in Islam’s relationship with Christianity and Judaism and seeks to explore the accommodative principles in Islamic theology and jurisprudence vis-à-vis Muslim-Jewish/Christian relations (in a non-apologetic manner). He teaches courses on the relationship of the Muslim world with the West (Christian world), women in Middle Eastern societies (includes Judaism and Christianity), Islamic philosophy/theology and Islamic history. Mustafa has also spent many years studying traditional Islamic knowledge and is the son of a well-known Imam in the UK.


Reuven Firestone

Rabbi Dr. Reuven Firestone is Professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, Senior Fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, and founder and co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement in Los Angeles. Author of seven books and over eighty scholarly articles on Judaism, Islam, their relationship with one another and with Christianity, his work has been translated into Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian, Albanian, Macedonian, German and Indonesian. Rabbi Firestone has lived in Israel and Egypt and lectured at universities in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East as well as throughout North America. He served on the international “Voice of Peace” radio project (the “Peace Ship”) in the 1970s and is involved a variety of committees and commissions exploring Jewish-Muslim and Jewish-Arab relations. His books include “Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims”; “An Introduction to Islam for Jews”; “Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam”; “Who are the Real Chosen People: The Meaning of ‘Chosenness’ in Judaism, Christianity and Islam”, and “Holy War in Judaism: the Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea”. He received his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from New York University.


Francesca Frazer - IAF Project Coordinator

Francesca Frazer is the Project Coordinator for the ICCJ International Abrahamic Forum (IAF) and the ICCJ Young Leadership Council (YLC), and English language editor for jcrelations.net.  Her fascination with different religions led to a first degree in Religions and Theology, a Masters degree in Biblical Studies and she is currently undertaking her PhD in Jewish-Christian relations at the University of Manchester: ‘Samuel Sandmel: Post-Holocaust US Communal Leader, New Testament Scholar, and Pioneer in Jewish-Christian Relations’, supervised by Prof. Daniel Langton. She has taught on a number of undergraduate courses at the University including New Testament Greek and Religion and Evolution, and she tutors students for the Manchester Access Programme. She also works as a Widening Participation Fellow on behalf of the department of Religions and Theology, delivering workshops and lectures at schools and colleges to raise the profile of Religious Studies. She attended her first ICCJ conference in 2011 in Krakow, in preparation for her role as ICCJ 2012 Conference coordinator. She found both experiences inspirational and she is very passionate about her continuing role of promoting and facilitating Jewish-Christian-Muslim trialogue as Project Coordinator for ICCJ’s trilateral activities.


Heidi Hadsell

Prof Heidi Hadsell is President of Hartford Seminary and Professor of Social Ethics. Her qualifications include: Post-doctoral (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris); Ph.D. (University of Southern California) M.A. (Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary); B.A. (University of California, Berkeley). Her areas of study include: Social ethics in a global context; Ethics and Interfaith Relations; and Christian understandings of economic and political issues. She has a deep commitment to interfaith dialogue and engagement, believing that in today’s religiously plural world, it is essential to understand and work with religions beyond one’s own. Dr. Hadsell serves on a variety of boards that reflect her service in the community and experience in theological education. Before she came to Hartford Seminary in 2000, Dr. Hadsell served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches, Bossey, Switzerland. She has published on a variety of subjects, including ecumenism, environmental ethics, religion in Brazil, and ethics in a religiously plural world. She is co-editor of “Changing the Way Seminaries Teach: Pedagogies for Interfaith Dialogue” and of “Beyond Idealism”.


Amineh Hoti

Dr Amineh Hoti is Executive Director of the Society for Dialogue and Action (D&A), an advisor to the Three Faiths Forum and patron of charities aiming for global peace and world solutions, such as the UK Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum. She obtained her PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK, and was the co-founder and first Director of the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations (CMJR) where she outlined an innovative on-site and e-learning interfaith course and taught Islam and “understanding the Other” to Imams, priests and rabbis. Her book, “Sorrow and Joy Among Muslim Women: the Pukhtuns of Northern Pakistan” (Cambridge University Press [2006]), was nominated for the 2007 Kiriyama Prize. Dr Hoti is the consultant editor of “Valuing Diversity: Towards Mutual Respect and Understanding”. This learning resource, for schoolteachers and students, was distributed to 2500 of the UK’s 5000 schools. She is currently working on introducing another learning resource book accompanied by interfaith courses for policy makers, police, media and educational centers (including madrassas) in Pakistan, where she is setting up an educational centre with public outreach to increase tolerance, respect and deeper understanding leading to global peace.


Ghassan Manasra

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra is in the Qadiri Sufi Order, a spiritually oriented tradition of Islam. He is an expert in Islam and Middle Eastern Studies, and is an Imam. He is the director of Anwar Il- Salaam, Islamic Cultural Center (Lights of Peace), an NGO in Nazareth dedicated to spreading the message of a tolerant, moderate Islam within the Muslim world and committed to inter-religious dialogue within Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the wider Middle East. His life work is dedicated to his teaching and engagement with all religions in Israel, and profound belief in dialogue and mutual understanding. Ghassan co-authored “Light upon Light, a Journey with the Sufis” with Zeev Ben Arie (2006) and he is currently translating and editing “Principles of Sufism” with Professor Avi Elkayam. In addition to his teaching and writing he organizes interfaith events and conferences, courses and seminars for educational and religious leaders. He served on the steering committee at the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace (Brussels and Seville) and at the Houm De Parole Conference (Paris) under UNESCO, he was elected to the International Committee for Dialogue.


Hosam Naoum

The Very Reverend Hosam Naoum is the Anglican Dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem. Dean Naoum was born and raised in Galilee, Israel, and served as a Parish Priest in the congregations of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Zababdeh and St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Nablus in the West Bank prior to his ministry at the Cathedral. Hosam did his first Seminary training (graduated 1996) at the College of the Transfiguration and Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, and a second Degree in Theology at the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in the fields of Hebrew Scriptures and Canon Law (Class of 2011). Hosam serves both congregations at the Cathedral (Arabic and English Speaking Congregations), and serves as the Secretary of the Meetings of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem. Dean Hosam has been involved in interfaith work in Israel/Palestine for some years now, and under his leadership the Anglican Cathedral continues to be a place of hospitality, friendship, and reconciliation for the people of Jerusalem and the world-wide community of faith.

To top