Interreligieux

From the Secretary General of the World Conference on Religion and Peace

   Dear Friends:

Warm Greetings.

This past month has been marked by violent conflicts and the displacement of minority religious populations in the Middle East-North Africa region. Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians and Israelis in particular come deeply to mind. Our hearts cry out when we see innocent people, including the elderly, women and children killed in violent conflicts. Our hearts cry out when violence is used as a justification for more violence, while the innocent lie dead, wounded or homeless.

Tragically, all too often religion is being misused in these situations. All too often, religion is a "victim" of the cynical efforts designed to demonize the other.

As you watched, worked and prayed this last month, you no doubt had in mind your Religions for Peace (RfP) colleagues present in places of conflict. I can share with you that your colleagues were using their faith as a source of strength to resist the great pressures to demonize people of other faiths. Indeed, your colleagues were struggling to find ways to reach out in solidarity for Peace.

We recall the recent 9th World of Assembly of RfP and its theme of "Welcoming the Other." In that Assembly, the delegates were able to discern as a profound consensus that their respective religious traditions called them to actively "welcoming the other." That is our fundamental multi-religious stance. It expresses the fact that diverse religious traditions teach-each one in its own way-that Peace is more that the absence of war; Peace is positive.

Below the painful headlines, you will be pleased to know that your colleagues in RfP around the world continue their work of bridging the divides that so painfully separate human communities. The enclosed Newsletter highlights just a little of our work during the past month.

Also, during the past month, our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrated the end of Ramadan. We congratulate our Islamic brothers and sisters and thank them for

Communiqué du Secrétaire Général de Religions for Peace

14 May 2014

Dear Esteemed Colleague:

The kidnapping of over 200 school girls in Chibok, north-eastern Nigeria on 14 April 2014 by the terrorist group Boko Haram is morally reprehensible.

This craven and cowardly act deeply offends the religious sensibilities of the overwhelming majority of sincere believers around the world.

Islamic leadership has condemned this shameless act, which is also a grave abuse of the religion that Muslims hold most dear.

You would, I felt, appreciate receiving a couple of thoughtful and constructive statements on the kidnapping written by two of your eminent Religions for Peace Co-Moderators: Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and H.E John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. You will find them here

We know, from over 43 years of experience, that our work is based on shared values as well as a principled respect for our religious differences.  We have agreed by consensus that it is the obligation of all believers to respect and honor one another and to promote each other's well being, including very notably the well being of women and girls. This shameful kidnapping makes clear that our mission is as important as ever.

As we decry this heinous kidnapping and call for the release of the school girls, we also extend our prayers and principled solidarity to the girls and their families.

In partnership,

Dr. William F. Vendley

Secretary General 

 

L’accueil de l’étranger dans les religions

   L'appel visant à accueillir l'étranger est enraciné dans toutes les grandes religions.

Dans le livre des Upanishads, somme philosophique indienne du XVe s. av. J.C., un mantra dit bien que l'hôte, plus que messager envoyé par Dieu “est semblable à Dieu”. Nous sommes ici en présence de l'hospitalité dans la culture hindoue. Au centre du dharma ou de la morale hindoue, sinscrivent la compassion, la non-violence et la volonté de servir l'étranger et l'hôte inconnu. C’est un devoir traditionnel de lui offrir le gîte et le couvert. Plus généralement, le concept de dharma consacre l'injonction à faire son devoir, aussi bien à l’égard de l’étranger qu’à celui de la communauté, ce devoir mettant en avant la non-violence et l'abnégation au service du bien de tous.

Le canon bouddhique dit des Trois corbeilles (Tipitaka en pali, Tripitaka en sanscrit), qui rassemble les textes fondateurs du premier bouddhisme, le Theravada,  souligne l'importance de cultiver quatre états d'âme : la bienveillance, la joie, l’équanimité, et la compassion. Ses traditions du bouddhisme sont diverses le concept de karuna est commun à toutes. Ce concept recouvre les qualités de tolérance, de non-discrimination, d’inclusion et d'empathie pour la souffrance des autres. Il reflète le rôle central que joue la compassion dans d'autres religions.

La Torah (la loi juive), qu’on appelle le Pentateuque en régime chrétien, présente trente-six occurrences du respect qu’on doit à l'étranger. Le Livre de l’Exode recommande de ne pas opprimer l’étranger (Ex 23,9). Quant au Lévitique, troisième des cinq livres de la Torah, reprenant ce que dit le Livre de l’Exode il justifie l'un des fondements les plus remarquables de la foi juive : "L'étranger qui séjourne parmi vous, vous sera comme celui qui est né parmi vous, et tu l'aimeras comme toi-même ; car vous avez été étrangers dans le pays d'Égypte”. (Lv 19, 33-34). 

Dans l'Évangile de Matthieu (Mt 25, 35), nous entendons l'appel : “J'ai eu faim et vous m'avez donné à manger, j'ai eu soif et vous m'avez donné à boire, j'étais étranger et vous m'avez accueilli...” Brassens lui fait un bel écho dans la chanson pour l’Auvergnat. La Lettre aux Hébreux nous invite à  persévérer dans l'amour fraternel. “N'oubliez pas l'hospitalité ; quelques-uns en la pratiquant ont, à leur insu, logé des anges” (He 13, 1-2).

 

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