Interreligious Gathering of Prayer
for World Peace: Kyoto, Japan
The Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace is composed of
representatives from seven different religions and sects in Japan. They have
organized a series of international multi-faith conferences, annually for the
previous 15 years. This year's theme was: "Reconciliation of Conflicts and
Religions," which was held in Kyoto, Japan in early 2002-AUG.
Ifet Mustafic, secretary general of the Interreligious Council of
Bosnia-Herzegovina said:"In the post-Sept. 11 world, we must
focus on past examples of successful post-conflict resolution between people
of different religions. Bosnia, where Christians and Muslims were able to
reconcile after the bloodshed of the 1990s, offers a positive example of how
that might be carried out."
Participants were unable to reach a consensus about religiously-inspired
violence, like the Palestinian suicide-bombings. under what conditions (if any)
acts of violence may be permitted. Abdulla Mabrouk Al-Nagar, a Muslim legal
scholar who teaches at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, said that the Koran does
allow for violence in self-defense. He said: "If all else fails, and if
all other nonviolent means of defending oneself against evil have failed, then
an act of self-defense is permitted."
Some Muslim participants noted that only Japan's Buddhist leaders can be
counted on to provide a fair and neutral mediation that will be respected
abroad. Musa Zeid Keilani, a Jordanian member of the Islamic Congress of
Jerusalem, said: "Only Japanese Buddhists are really qualified to mediate
between Islam and other religions, because there is no legacy of discrimination
between Japan and the Muslim world."
Among the inter-faith conflicts, mass murders and genocides in recent years,
most have been between the two largest religions in the world: Christianity and
Islam. These have included: Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Cyprus, Nigeria, Sudan,
Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Muslims would probably not accept Hindus as
mediators, because of India's refusal to allow the people of Kashmir to decide
their own fate by a plebiscite approved by the United Nations in the 1940's. So,
Buddhists are probably the best bet as mediators. They do not have a history of
conflict with either Christians or Mulsims.