Sufism Symposium Barcelona (2005)


The International Association of Sufism participated in the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which convened in Barcelona, Spain from July 7 through 14, 2004. The Parliament involved a week of interaction among nearly 8,000 members of the world’s diverse religious communities. Discussion at the Parliament centered on the issues of religious violence, access to safe water, the fate of refugees worldwide, and the elimination of developing countries’ debts. The Parliament featured more than 400 workshops. There were also various cultural and spiritual events that took place during the entire duration of the Parliament, festively celebrating cultural and spiritual diversity and demonstrating understanding against all forms of violence perpetrated in the name of religion. A number of spiritual and religious representatives, including IAS’s Co-Director Nahid Angha, Ph.D., also met at Assembly in Montserrat Abbey outside Barcelona from July 4 through 7, 2004 to address the four issues mentioned earlier.

Within the Parliament the International Association of Sufism held the second session of its Annual Sufism Symposium on July 8-9, 2004. IAS’s Co-Director Nahid Angha, Ph.D. organized and developed the program in conjunction with the Parliament. The IAS Symposium program featured various panel discussions over the two days relating to the theme of the Parliament: Pathways to Peace, including the following panels:

Peace: A Quest for Universal Harmony. The presenters were IAS Co-Director Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., Aisha Rafea, Sharon Mijares, Ph.D., and Bahman Shirazi, Ph.D. They eloquently discussed the connection between harmony and peace.

World Peace Begins from Within. The presenters were Aliaa Rafea, Ph.D., Safa Ali Michael Newman, Sharon Mijares, Ph.D., and Leili First. They powerfully presented the unified message that individual peace, through the practice of Sufism, could lead to world peace.

Sufi Psychology Forum: From Mind to Heart: Pathway to Peace. The presenters were Amineh Pryor, Ph. D., Sheikh Jamal Granick, Arife Ellen Hammerle, Ph. D.,  Bahman Shirazi. Ph. D., and Seyedeh Hamaseh Kianfar. The panel explored the way to peace through the unity of heart and mind in the context of Sufism and psychology.

Peace: Universal Message of the World’s Religions. The presenters were Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar, Ph. D., Aisha Rafea, Rev. Charles Gibbs, and Aliaa Rafea, Ph. D., and Hamaseh Kianfar. The presenters delivered to the audience a beautiful message of peace as the true meaning and face of religion.


Jonathan Granoff (Ahamed Muhaiyaddeen) delivered a stirring presentation on Peace: A Universal Harmony, he shared his time with Jane Goodall.

 Each panel session of the IAS program was very well attended, with packed standing-room-only audiences spilling out into the hallways.

Taneen Concerts Draw Large Audiences in Spain
Members of Taneen were honored to have the opportunity of performing at the meeting of the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona, Spain. Through the grace, guidance, and support of Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar, Taneen performed at two well-attended events, offering the wisdom of such Sufi poets as Omar Khayam, Jallaledin Rumi, and Moulana Shah Maghsoud before this international gathering of world religions. Seyedeh Hamaseh Kianfar joined with Taneen to read portions of the poetry in the original Farsi. Several members of the audiences visited with ensemble members after each performance and shared their experience of joining in chants. Some reported that through the experience, they felt closer in their connection to the Divine. The concerts were a significant addition to the Barcelona conference and were well received by over-flowing audiences at each event.

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