The 10th Religions for Peace World Assembly launched Tuesday (Aug. 20) with calls for religious groups to take decisive action on the main geopolitical issues of the day, and ending with an unusual “statement of commitment” aimed at fostering multireligious cooperation.
Almost every religious leader who spoke at the opening ceremony called communities of faith to look beyond their own local or church-related issues.
“Nothing can be accomplished if we work separately,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
Kosho Niwano, president-designate of the Japanese Buddhist movement Rissho Kosei-kai, praised interfaith cooperation of the past and said it should continue in the future.
“We have seen half a century of progress so far and for that to continue the only way is for us to work together.”
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, agreed.
“The future depends entirely on how we address our shared welfare,” he told the more 1,000 attendees at the gathering.
Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, told a parable involving a double-decker ship where the drinking water was stored on the top level.
“The people on the bottom level needed water to drink and so they started to drill a hole in the side of the ship to get the water from the outside,” Bin Bayyah said. “If those on the top level would share their water then everyone would survive. But if they don’t, the ones on the bottom will drill the hole and soon the entire ship will sink and everyone will perish.”
He went on: “It is the same for everyone here,” Bin Bayyah said. “We must work together or we will all fail.”
One key part of the opening day’s activities — the formal presentation of a 25-foot wooden ring-shaped sculpture that will remain in Lindau as a symbol of the assembly — was postponed because of rainy weather.
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Source: Religion News Service