We all share the dream to live in peace and to provide a safe environment built on justice and mutual self respect where our children can grow together as members of one human family. We all have responsibility of effectively contributing towards breaking down barriers to international peace and understanding.
World leaders are increasingly recognizing that no country can exist in isolation and there can be no sustainable development in the economies of the world without international cooperation. Life in a global village implies a shared future of peaceful co-existence, independence, exploitation of resources for mutual beneficial and increased production and efficiency based on factors of mobility and expanding markets.
Democratic pluralism thrives on the ability of citizens to value each other and each others dignity and human rights. Democracy succeeds where individual is accepted as image of God and all religions share membership in a loving relationship with the God.The challenge lies in the fact of respect of plurality and diversity, each independ- ently in its own tradition consider that they know the truth itself. On the one hand religion can offer a language of peace in a creative way and the otherness, forgiveness and reconciliation; on the other hand religion also offers motivation for peace engagement on a personal level.
Yet the world is being torn apart by fear of the other, violence, war and injustice much of which is committed in the name of God. The world religions have both similarities and fundamental differences. One of the most important similarity is the conviction — part of innermost essence of religious belief—to be source of peace and reconciliation.
The essence of religion is to worship one creator and respect the life and dignity of all human beings regardless of religion, nationality and gender. Use leadership to advance these sacred values and prevent religion from being used as a source of conflict and instead serve as goals of just and comprehensive peace and reconciliation.
The concern for peace is not with theological question but with global world order of a new world society with a view to a realistic vision of peace in the future. Loyalty to one‘s own religion and openness to other religious tradition are not mutually exclusive for others. The finalality of all our efforts cannot be a uniform religion, it must be real peace amongst the religions. Security stands in the way of a rational approach to peace.
By understanding different faiths we can develop respect and tolerance for all people According to the Quran the Jews and Christians have been given the title as ‘People of the Book’. They compose one-third of the world’s population. Their Abrahamic traditions derive prescriptions for human relationships from history and character as recounted in their scriptures. Their commitment to monotheism and common recognition of Abraham as model of faith ‘encourages greater understanding and dialogue in respect to dignity and love things on the earth, in the sea, in the sky etc’. The Quran 32:20.The Quran calls on its followers ‘Do not lose your dignity when listening to profane abuse. A kind word with forgiveness is better then charity followed by insult’. On breaking pledges it states ‘But pardon them and forbear: verily God loves the doers of good. 5:13. Countering evil with good it holds out ‘do you not desire that God should forgive you your sins: seeing God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace. 24:22. ‘Hence, whoever pardons (his foe) and makes peace, his reward rests with God – for verily, He does not love evil doers. 42; 40. There is no peace without justice and no justice without forgiveness. 2.40
According to Archbishop Desmond Titu, there is no future without forgiveness to transcend the conflicts of the past. Forgiveness together with reconciliation supersedes injury for injury.Islam like all great religions embraces certain universal human values that can be reorganized and accepted as basis of community if they could be highlighted in a work of unimpeachable scholarship. Such highlight can emphasize dignity of individual, freedom of conscience and God’s love for all his creatures. The Quran gives us guidance for forgiveness and reconciliation.‘And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. And these are they who are successful. But, since good and evil cannot be equal repel thou (evil) with something that is better— and lo he between whom and thyself there was enmity(may then become as though he had (always) been close (unto thee), a true friend! ’ 41:34 ‘And not alike are the good and evil. repel (evil with what is best, when lo! he between whom and thee is enmity would be as one as he were a warm friend/ 941:34. It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those of them you hold as enemies. And Allah is powerful; and Allah is forgiving, merciful 60:7
Religious and political leaders may look to each other’s abilities and resources in dealing with the past and in constructing the future. Yet the role of religion in reconciliation peace building cannot be overlooked. Challenges point to the need for a set of ethics that can govern forgiveness and reconciliation and peace building from a religious perspective. Ethics of political reconciliation might be patterned on a just war framework, offering moral guidance for building peace after hostilities have ceased. Role of religious experience together with transitional justice varies from efficacious rules in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, South Africa, East Timor and weak efforts in Rwanda, Argentina, Poland, Northern Island and former Yugoslavia. They reveal two factors that characterize influence ofl religious actors. The first points to political theology based on reconciliation, chief of them was Archbishop Tutu who spoke in terms of reconciliation. The second factor highlights religious actors opposing authoritarian regime in prominently mediated civil war that gave them prestige and deepened institutional autonomy with which they will later influence transition to democracy and peace.
The need for active integration of religion into politics of peace building can be fulfilled by setting Truth Commission. There is evidence of Truth Commission in Muslim countries as in South Africa and Sierra Leone with 40% Muslim countries, where prominent leaders promoted truth and reconciliation. Morocco is the first Muslim country with solely Muslim population to carry out a Truth Commission. Political leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Burma and Kashmir have expressed strong support for Truth Commission or similar institution. Argument being that reconciliation depends not solely on what religion is involved Judaism, Christianity or Islam; but on political theology and differentiation practiced by local religious actors.
Notwithstanding what is stated above the realities on the ground are harsh and unrelenting and cannot be bypassed. Western imperialism’s support for funding Islamic extremism has found its ugliest manifestation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The West’s reaction to Israel’s intransigence in the Middle East is a matter of great concern. It has flagrantly breached international law, besides elementary norms of civilized conduct. It has used assassination as a state policy, these non judicial executions are morally repugnant. Israel’s policy of ruthlessly consolidating its occupation and expanding settlements and tightening its economic hold over Palestinians is in defiance of Security Council’s resolution and global opinion. Successive U. S governments dalliance with Israel, has not only protected it from sanctions despite violations of U. N resolutions but also pumped huge economical and military aid equivalent to $1000 to each citizen. President Bush was particularly indulgent and all but legitimized illegal settlements.
Israel roguish conduct is one of the greatest barriers to peace in West Asia. A settlement of the Palestine remains a precondition for a real break through in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Muslim World. This is only possible if Israel is tamed, effectively, delegitimized as a law abiding state and is punished instead of being indulged. We must admit that dignity, forgiveness and reconciliation is only possible between equals.
ARA PACIS INITIATIVES FOR PEACE ONLUS
Organizzazione internazionale senza scopo di lucro dedicata alla dimensione umana della pace
Torretta de’ Massimi – Via della Pisana, 600
00163 Roma RM (Italia)
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