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Interreligious Gathering of Prayer
for World Peace: Kyoto, Japan

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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.

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  1. "Christians, Muslims seek peace in Kyoto," The Japan Times, 2002-AUG-5, at:

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Copyright 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-AUG-6
Latest update: 2002-AUG-6
Author: B.A. Robinson

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