Fouad Masri
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CONFERENCE DRAWS FORMER PLO MEMBER, LEBANESE MINISTER

Indianapolis, IN-October 7, 2008- A conference in Sacramento this month features a former PLO fighter now working to bridge the gap between Christians and Muslims.

The 5th Annual Oasis Conference 2008 will take place in Sacramento, CA, on October 23-25. The event aims to break down stereotypes toward Islam and Muslims. Topics include: forming relationships between Christians and Muslims, the role of women in Islam, Islamic terrorism, and Jesus in the Koran.

Crescent Project, a non-profit Christian ministry, holds the event in partnership with other agencies. Crescent Project founder and president Fouad Masri believes the conference will help Christians connect with their Muslim neighbors.

"Since 9/11, Christians have become aware of their Muslim neighbors," Masri said. "Instead of avoiding Muslims, we seek to build bridges and share the compassion of Christ with them."

Plenary speakers include Kamal Saleem, a former member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Rev. Fouad Masri, Lebanese pastor and founder of Crescent Project, Shirin Taber, Iranian author of Muslims Next Door, and several others.

This is the 5th year Crescent Project has hosted the Oasis Conference but their first opportunity to hold it in California. Oasis National Director Jacob Smith says the location of California was an obvious choice.

"California has more mosques than any other state and is home to the largest Iranian population outside of Iran," Smith said. "The people at Crescent Project wanted to bring the conference to an area in need of it most - and we believe Sacramento is a great fit."

Registration is $75 per student, $115 per person and $180 per couple. Visit http://www.oasisamerica.org for more information or to register.

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About Crescent Project:

Crescent Project enables Christians to reach out with compassion to Muslims in North America. They provide training and resources designed to help people get involved in bringing true hope and peace to Muslims. They are headquartered in Indianapolis, IN.

For more information on the Oasis Conference or to schedule an interview with Fouad Masri, call Tamara Shaya at 317-257-8870 or e-mail tshaya@crescentproject.org. - Crescent Project


Taylor University will host its first annual World Religions Week, Sept. 24-28. The goal of the week is to introduce Taylor students to the beliefs and practices of the world's major religions. The public is invited; there is no charge for admission.

Reverend Fouad Masri of The Crescent Project and Dr. Salah Elsaharty, an Anderson, Ind. area doctor and member of the Alhuda Foundation, are the featured speakers for the week and the Middle Eastern band Salaam will perform.

According to Taylor Student Organization (TSO) President Tamara Shaya, the emphasis for the inaugural week is Muslim-Christian relations. She said that it is the organizing committee's hope that each Taylor student will learn about four of the world's major religions by the time he or she graduates.

“This was something the Lord laid on my heart last year,” said Shaya. “The purpose of the week is to introduce people in the Taylor community to the basics of Islam and to help the community converse with people of other religions.”

The week-long series of events is being sponsored by a number of Taylor campus organizations including TSO, Campus Ministries, the Taylor Performing Artist Series, the Spencer Centre for Global Engagement and AHANA, an organization for African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American Taylor students.

“There are at least one billion Muslims in the world, seven million in the United States and 200,000 in Indiana. We believe at some point our students will interact with Muslims and after this week we hope they will have a solid understanding of Islam and how to bridge the gap between the two faiths,” said Shaya. “We want to encourage the campus to befriend Muslims and to dialogue with them in a way that honors God. There are a lot of misconceptions in the world about Muslims; we want our campus to realize there's more to them than what the media portrays.”

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

9/24/2007

10:00 a.m. - Chapel
The Gospel Among Muslims
Fouad Masri
Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Q & A
Fouad Masri
Alspaugh Room, Hodson Dining Commons

8:00 p.m. - Islam: Introduction, History and Culture
Fouad Masri
Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

9/25/2007
7:00 p.m. - A Muslim's Perspective on Islam
Dr. Elsaharty
Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

9/26/2007
8:15 p.m. - Reaching Muslims, Part I
Fouad Masri
Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

9/27/2007
7:00 p.m. - Reaching Muslims, Part II
Fouad Masri
Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

9/28/2007
7:30 p.m. - Middle Eastern Band Salaam
Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

JIM GARRINGER

- Taylor University


07.01.08

When media communication majors Tamara Shaya '08 and Brandon Downs '08 worked on an audio project for a class last year, they had no idea how significant it would be for their futures.

Shaya met Fouad Masri, a Lebanese pastor and founder of Crescent Project, when he came to speak at Taylor's World Opportunities Week during her freshman year. The two shared a passion for reaching Muslims for Christ.

"My parents are originally from Baghdad, Iraq," said Shaya, "so my passion for Muslims comes largely from my passion to reach my people. Ever since I was six, I felt led to go into missions and ever since I was nine, I felt media would be a part of that in some way."

In her junior year, Shaya teamed up with friend Brandon Downs in their Media, Faith & Culture class. The two chose Crescent Project as a client, creating an audio promotional piece to explain the ministry's goal to reach North American Muslims for Christ. The two spent many days recording in the sound booth and long nights editing the voices, music and sound effects.

The resulting audio project communicated with clarity and had "excellent production values," according to professor Kathy Bruner.

The media faculty believed the project would be well-received in competitions, so they entered it in several. Professional judges agreed. The project won an Award of Distinction from the Communicator Awards in the Professional/Religious Production category and an award from the Broadcast Education Association in its Specialty Programs category.

But the class project was only the beginning of the story.

When Shaya became Student Body President as a senior, she invited Masri back to speak during Taylor's World Religions Week in fall 2007, and he asked her to consider working with Crescent Project after she graduated. At first Shaya said "no" because her desire was to work in the Middle East. However, after prayer and a Taylor spring break ministry trip to Jordan, God confirmed that this was a perfect opportunity in the U.S..

Downs' career interests started turning toward ministry when he did a summer internship with an Indianapolis video production company. Four of the people he worked with knew Crescent Project founder Fouad Masri, so Downs found himself talking surprisingly often about the organization.

"At my internship I realized that talking about God is what motivates and energizes me and that I want to do something lasting and meaningful for the Kingdom." Still, working for Crescent would mean raising his own support. Downs was worrying about the finances when his former Taylor roommate and another housemate called and offered to share their home in Indianapolis.

"I didn't even know the housemate, and he was telling me about how much God had blessed him, and how he wanted to use what he had to bless others," Downs said. "So I was pretty blown away at how obvious God was making it for me to know that I should work at Crescent." Downs will work in a communication and graphic design position.

Shaya will do speaking, video production and public relations for the organization. She said, "Taylor has equipped me in so many ways for life. I have learned how to integrate faith with communications and create redemptive messages that draw people closer to Jesus. I have no doubt that God will use my leadership experiences at Taylor in my next steps with Crescent Project and throughout the rest of my life."

"Our media communication program always aims to do ‘real world' projects, but this is the first time I've seen God lead a student team straight from a class project to employment after Taylor!" said Bruner. "We're blessed to see how God is at work in the lives of our students."

- Taylor University


01.05.2007

Communities Committed to Reconciliation is the theme of the 2007 celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday at Taylor University. The observance will take place over the course of three days and begins Wednesday, January 10, before continuing Sunday, January 14 and Monday, January 15. The event will include guest speakers, a workshop on Islamic-North American relations and a concert by musical guest Berto Ramon.

University officials invite students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community to participate in the planned activities, which are open to the public.

A Martin Luther King, Jr. Day focus chapel at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, January 10, will feature Dr. Charles Ware, president of Crossroads Bible College and senior pastor of Crossroads Bible Church, both in Indianapolis. Ware co-founded the Voice of Biblical Reconciliation, is on the board of Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. He is a contributing writer to Called to Lead: Wisdom for the Next Generation African-American Leaders.

The Sunday celebration concert features Berto Ramon, a 10-piece Chicago band that plays a variety of music including Latin, jazz and soul.

Monday's featured speaker is author and speaker Dr. John M. Perkins. Perkins is the founder of several outreach organizations including Mendenhall Ministries (MS), Voice of Calvary Ministries (Jackson, MS) and the Harambee Family Christian Center (Pasadena, CA). He grew up in Mississippi, but moved to California at the age of 17 after his older brother's murder; he returned in the 1960s. According to his bio, Perkins' support and leadership role in civil rights demonstrations resulted in repeated harassment, imprisonment and beatings. Today, Perkins and his wife Vera Mae are active in ministries that share the gospel through community development, social justice, and racial reconciliation. His writing and speaking centers on issues of racial reconciliation, leadership and community development.

Lebanese-born Fouad Masri is also a featured presenter during the Monday afternoon workshop schedule. Masri is founder and president of The Crescent Project. A Lebanese-born, Middle-Easterner, Masri and his family are residents of Fishers, Ind. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Anderson University and a Master's degree in Islamic Studies from Fuller Seminary in Southern California. The Crescent Project group trains North Americans in building healthy relationships with Muslims and works to bring these people groups together in harmony.

The day concludes with a presentation of the film Forgiving Dr. Mengele, the story of Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor who, along with her twin sister, Miriam, was a victim of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele's genetic experiments. The film chronicles Kor's journey from being an embittered survivor to an advocate for reconciliation.

For additional information and the day's schedule, please call Cathy Weatherspoon at (765) 998-5383 or visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Web site. - Taylor University


Discography

Bridges: Connecting Christians with Muslims (DVD study)
Islamic Terrorism: How shall we now live? (audio CD)
Is the Injeel Corrupted? (book)
The Adha in the Injeel (book)

Photos

Bio

“Until Christians care about their Muslim neighbors, nothing is possible. But once they do, all things are possible!”

Fouad Masri
Founder, Crescent Project

Fouad Masri grew up in the war zone of Beirut, Lebanon. After experiencing the forgiveness of Christ and the hope Jesus offers, Fouad dedicated his life to sharing Jesus’ hope with Muslims. Fouad received his MA from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is a dynamic speaker and author.

Muslims: threat…or opportunity?

An estimated seven million Muslims currently live in North America. Some reports indicate that Islam is growing at a record pace. And contrary to media reports, these realities aren’t a threat.

They’re an opportunity.

Muslims live in our communities… work beside us…teach our children and staff our hospitals. And most Muslims are curious about the Jesus they’ve seen mentioned in the Koran—but whose life has never been fully explained.

North American Muslims are a mission field that literally surrounds us. One that the North American church can no longer afford to ignore.

Our mission…

Our mission—and calling—is to equip and provide opportunities for churches like yours to reach out to Muslim neighbors. To fulfill the Great Commission among Muslims, starting with Muslims already living in your zip code.

Our strategy…

Since 1993, we’ve equipped Christians throughout North America to build meaningful relationships with Muslims. To share the Christian faith in a way that makes sense from a Muslim perspective. We’ve trained more than 10,000 Christians to understand and engage Muslims—but there’s much left to do.

And your next step.

We’ve discovered there are four steps that move churches to a place where they can effectively minister to Muslims. Which step is the next one God wants you to take?

• Step 1: A shift in attitude
We help churches move past suspicion and fear regarding Muslims so they can respond with Christ’s love and compassion.

• Step 2: Turn walls into bridges
We equip churches to build bridges of friendship with Muslims—bridges across which the Good News of Jesus can travel.

• Step 3: Share the Gospel
We help Christians understand Islam and feel comfortable speaking to Muslim neighbors. We provide information, tools, and training. And we partner with local churches to research and discover opportunities for outreach.

• Step 4: Leaven the loaf
When a church’s efforts bear fruit, we help former Muslims impact their families and friends. To leaven the loaf.