Muslim love and admiration to Prophet Muhammad manifests itself beautifully through these various kinds of religious celebrations blended by local cultures and traditions in these birthday celebrations.
There is an issue of which all of us who would like to see peace in the Middle East are aware, but which is mostly going unmentioned today because of fear of reprisals. The issue is the state of war currently existing between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
While I've gotten my fair share of the expected questions (caste, karma, reincarnation), one question continues to be a challenge and opportunity: How can teachers explain Hinduism in a way that moves outside of India?
At a time when conflict is already lethal and interreligious understanding is more urgently needed than ever, some might argue that we should gloss over the points of difference. I agree about the need for interreligious understanding; I disagree about the recipe for achieving it.
I suspect that people who have made such statements doubting that Islam is a religion often do have knowledge and a real conception of what a religion is and they are able to listen to a discourse if it is respectful.
In our studies of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, one thing has been particularly striking: the exclusivism of the Abrahamic religions. Jews are the "chosen people," the path of Jesus is the "only way" and Muhammad's was the "final revelation."
The significance of such an approach to dialogues is not dependent upon whether both sides agree or disagree on a given issue; rather, that we are comfortable accepting these differences as a starting point.