10th Religions for Peace World Assembly held in Germany this week

On Tuesday (August 20), the 10th Religions for Peace World Assembly asked religious groups to act on issues which are geopolitical and ended the gathering with a “statement of commitment” for fostering multireligious cooperation.

Many religious speakers spoke at the assembly‘s opening ceremony in Germany with almost all of them requesting people to see beyond their church-related issues.

The president of the Japanese Buddhist movement, Rissho Kosei-kai, said humanity had enjoyed 50 years of progress, and if everyone would like for that to continue, they’d need to work together.

The archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan agreed, stating “the future depends entirely on how we address our shared welfare.”

Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, explained his point with a parable. “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. 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.”

“We must work together or we will all fail,” Bin Bayah said.

The next day saw Azza Karam, a United Nations expert on development and religious issues, being elected as the top official of the organization. Azza Karam is a Muslim woman who has succeeding former head, William Vendley.

This move brings greater visibility to the organization.

The executive director of Religions for Peace USA, Tarunjit Singh Butalia, said a woman heading RFP International as “walking the talk.” She went on to say Karam “will serve as an example to young boys and girls of faith of gender equality.”

“I think that women are very important for the dialogue and to raise voice for women around the world and different countries,” Rebecca Boakye of Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Germany.

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