Conférence mondiale des relgions pour la paix – Religions for Peace Newsletter

Conférence mondiale des relgions pour la paix – Religions for Peace Newsletter

Au sommaire notamment :
  • Syrie : rencontre des leaders religieux, unité pour refuser la violence et appel à la réconciliation nationale
  • Sri Lanka :  l’appel à la paix des leaders religieux est salué par le ministre japonais des affaires étrangères
  • Séminaires RfP sur les religions, les femmes et l’élaboration de la paix
  • Singapour : l’ancien Président du pays devient Président de Religions for Peace – Singapore
In the Network
Syrian Religious Leaders Unite to Reject Violence and Call for National Reconciliation

Larnaca, Cyprus; 23 February 2012

Syria Religious Leaders Photo.JPGReligious leaders from Syria urgently called for a peaceful solution and the rejection of all forms of violence regardless of its sources, as the nation undergoes widespread suffering.

United in their call for the rejection of military and security measures and for the immediate release of prisoners of opinion, the religious leaders acknowledged the urgent need to preserve religious diversity and respect for human dignity in Syria and committed to working together to advance national reconciliation. Read the summary of the statement here inArabic and English.

More than 20 senior Muslim and Christian leaders, representing Syria’s major communities, were joined by regional leaders and other concerned persons at the meeting,  convened by Religions for Peace Middle East-North Africa (RfP MENA) Council.

The meeting built upon the RfP MENA Council Marrakesh Declaration (16-17 November 2011), in which more than 70 religious leaders from the region committed to stand in solidarity with all vulnerable communities in MENA, to advocate for full religious freedoms across the region and to call on all religious believers to become a united force to help ensure that governments honor the full rights, protect and serve all of their citizens without exception. Click here for the Marrakesh Declaration in Arabic and English.

Sri Lankan Religious Leaders’ Efforts to Advance Reconciliation and Peace building Applauded by the Japanese Foreign Minister

Tokyo, Japan; 28 March 2012

Sri Lankan Sr. Religious LeadersA high-level multi-religious delegation from Sri Lanka met with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba today to discuss post-war reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka. The delegation, consisting of Sri Lanka’s senior-most leaders from Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities, was led by the Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace – RfP Sri Lanka, one of the 90 inter-religious councils affiliated to Religions for Peace (RFP)International, the world’s largest coalition of religious communities dedicated to advancing common action for peace.

Working through its national and 11 district-level inter-religious councils, RFP Sri Lanka is the country’s most representative inter-religious body, operating on the frontlines of inter-ethnic and inter-religious reconciliation and peace-building.

Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General of Religions for Peace International,  who coordinates the work of inter-religious councils around the world and was present at the meeting, commended RfP Sri Lanka’s commitment to take concrete action through its district councils, particularly in former conflict areas. Read the full Press Release here.

Dr.  Mustafa Ali – A Winner of the Global Coexist Foundation Prize

New York, New York; 20 March 2012

Dr. AliDr. Mustafa Ali, Secretary General of the African Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace, was honored as a runner-up of the global Coexist Foundation Prize. Among six finalists selected worldwide by the Coexist Foundation for the award, Dr. Ali was the only finalist from Africa out of two hundred peacemakers and conflict transformation practitioners from around the world.

A distinguished panel of judges, consisting of former President of Ireland Ms. Mary Robinson, Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheik Ali Gomaa, Regius Professor of Divinity and Director of Cambridge Inter-faith Program Prof. David Ford and the International Director of Jewish Interreligious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen [a Co-President of RfP], selected the winners. The awards consisted of funds and certificates of recognition.

The Coexist Foundation, which is led by Mr. James Kidner, [an International Trustee of RfP] initiated this award to honor individuals who have made substantial efforts in building bridges to promote religious understanding and peaceful co-existence amongst people of different faiths, including resolving conflicts in the most hostile environments. See footage of Dr. Ali and other nominees video here>>

European Council of Religious Leaders – RfP General Secretary, Mr. Stein Villumstad, condemns the atrocious attack in Toulouse

Mr. Villumstad“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the Jewish community in Toulouse after the fatal assault, leaving three small children and one adult dead.

Attacks on religious communities are deplorable and call us to join hands over religious boundaries. When attacks are mortal and include children, as it did in Toulouse, we are struck by the incomprehensible injustice, says the General Secretary.”

RfP Secretary General, Dr. William F. Vendley, condemns the Arson Attack on the Rida Mosque and the Killing of Imam Abdallah Dadou

Dr. Vendley“The arson attack on the Rida mosque in Brussels on Monday 12 March 2012 has killed Imam Abdallah Dadou. The Imam was also a husband and the father of four children. For all of the members of RfP, the attack on this mosque which resulted in his death was despicable. RfP rejects this arson attack as an illegal, violent, ugly and morally offensive act. We call upon the relevant authorities to advance justice in accordance with the law.

Events such as these deeply wound our hearts. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the wife and family of Imam Abdallah Dadou, to the members of the Rida mosque and to the entire Islamic community in Belgium. Individual believers in RfP are offering prayers in accord with their own traditions.”  Click here to read the full statement.  For the ECRL-RfP GS statement, click here.

RfP Seminar Series on Religion, Women and Peace building

Religious communities working together can be effective agents of building durable peace, protecting the earth and promoting just and harmonious societies. As religious peace building gains prominence, the recognition of the roles and capacities of women of faith as agents of peace cannot be more urgent.

The RfP Global Women of Faith Network will convene representatives from religious, academic, civil society, government and UN agencies on 23 April in New York to dialogue and share knowledge concerning the relationship between religion, women and peace-building. The Seminar will also promote the strategic engagement of women of faith as agents of peace and security within the framework of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

The RfP Global Women of Faith Network is organizing the seminar in collaboration with United Nations Women, Princeton University Office for Religious Life, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ford Foundation, Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations and The Institute for Global Engagement.Click here to register or for more details.


In the News
Religious Freedom Ambassador Settles into Role, Diplomacy

29 March 2012

Rev Suzan Johnson CookNearly a year into her stint as the State Department’s point person on religious freedom, the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook has traveled to eight countries and seems to have moved beyond questions about her lack of diplomatic experience.

« I had to certainly learn the culture of the State Department, » said Johnson Cook, the Obama Administration’s Ambassador-at-Large for international religious freedom, in a recent interview, « but I was not foreign to the issues. »

Dr. William Vendley, [Secretary General of RfP], a senior adviser to the working group, said Johnson Cook is helping to refocus the department’s engagement with religious communities to address not only religious freedom and counterterrorism but also human rights and reducing violent conflicts.

« This is repointing the oceanliner, » said Vendley, « moving the ship of state, recalibrating its compass bearing vis-a-vis religion. »
Some religious leaders say Johnson Cook’s previous role as a minister has prepared her well to be a public defender of religious freedom. Read more here>>

In Memoriam: Abdessalam Najjar

23 March 2012

Abdessalam NajjarAbdessalam Najjar [Co-Vice Chairperson of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel – RfP], was born in 1952 in Nazareth, North Israel. He came from a family of devout Muslims: his father and brother are Imams.

Abdessalam decided to become involved in peace education whilst he was studying at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where his first meaningful encounter with Jewish students took place. Read more here>>

Archbishop of Canterbury to be Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

16 March 2012

Archbishop Rowan WilliamsArchbishop Rowan Williams [a Co-President of RfP] has announced his acceptance of the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge with effect from January 2013. He will therefore be stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012.

Dr Williams’ intentions have been conveyed to The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and who formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr.  Williams was appointed the one hundred and fourth Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. Read more>>

Former President SR Nathan to be Inter-faith Group’s Patron

11 March 2012

SR Nathan

For the first time in its 63-year history, the Inter-Religious Organization – RfP Singapore has appointed a patron – former President S.R. Nathan.

Leaders and members of the non-governmental organisation met Mr. Nathan on its new premises along Palmer Road on Saturday to introduce him to its workings and engage him in a short dialogue. Read more here>>

Congratulations to our Partners in CAPA!

28 February 2012

Archbishop of Burundi, Bernard NtahoturiThe Anglican Alliance sends congratulations to the Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa for its very successful assembly in Burundi and the election of its new chair, Most Rev’d Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of Burundi, [an Honorary President of RfP]. The meeting brought together Primates and key Anglicans from across Africa, and CAPA’s global partners.

Their key themes were economic empowerment and peace and reconciliation, and challenged churches to harness untapped resources and strengthen relationships across the continent.

Religious Women call for Peace building

24 February 2012

Nigeria Women of FaithThe RfP Nigeria Women of Faith Network – Religions for Peace has called for peace building and stable communities and societies.

Speaking in Abuja yesterday, with the theme: “The role of women of faith in peace building in our community,” the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja,John Onaiyekan, [a Co-President of RfP], condemned the attitude of those who only see the evil use of religion.

He congratulated the Abuja Women of Faith Network, a group of Muslim and Christian women in Abuja, who had freely gathered to work together for peace and harmony, bringing to bear their specific feminine touch.

Onaiyekan noted that, religion carried with it very powerful emotions, which could be used either for good or for evil.

According to him, “unfortunately, some people have been giving religion a bad name, waging war, fomenting violent conflicts and even killing innocent men, women and children in the name of God.” Read more here>>

Metropolitan Hilarion meets with members of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France

17 February 2012

Met. Hilarion Met. EmmanuelMetropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, [a Co-President of RfP], Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with the members of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France.

Metropolitan Emmanuel of France,  [a Co-President of RfP], greeted the DECR Chairman, who was accompanied by Bishop Nestor of Korsun, and said that Metropolitan Hilarion does not need an introduction, as he is well known to Orthodox bishops in France as “an ingenious theologian and as a man sensitive to the life of Orthodoxy at present.” Metropolitan Emmanuel underscored that the Assembly he leads can serve as an example for assemblies in other countries. Read more here>>
Please click here for the previous newsletter.

RELIGIONS FOR PEACE—the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition—advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than eighty national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.

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