Fanatics blamed for inter-faith conflicts

By JOE OMBUOR in Kuala Lumpur

Images of the Westgate Mall terror attack in Nairobi were invoked at the fifth Global Peace convention in Malaysia, with a warning that religious conflicts could destroy humanity.

The warning was sounded by the Chairman of Global Peace Foundation GPF Hyun Jin Preston Moon when he officially opened the convention attended by delegates from 40 countries at Shangri-la Hotel in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Moon, who was flanked by among others, Chairman of the GPF Kenya chapter Manu Chandaria said the threat of sectarian extremism as manifested by Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, among others, will never be resolved by political or economic means alone, but through universal principles, shared values of the world’s faith traditions in diverse and multi-religious societies.

He called for co-operation among faith leaders saying this was essential for securing peace “at this critical infection point of modern history”.

“Such a movement of cooperation calls for a vision that transcends the many differences and divisions that feed conflicts worldwide today,” said Moon noting that all people regardless of race, nationality, religion or culture are members of one family before God.

Moon proposed the establishment of a faith-based Peace Council at the United Nations to meet the global challenge of identity-based conflict.

“Through such a council the collective wisdom and resources of the world’s great faith traditions can be mobilised to counter the radical elements currently distorting the original spirit of those traditions,” he said.

He described GPF projects as practical, bringing faith communities to work together to change attitudes and behaviour in a bid to solve social problems and conflict.

One Family under God

Moon said the process was already happening in Nigeria where Christian and Muslim leaders were partnering with GPF to take the “One Family under God” message into local communities.

“The Nigerian example of religious cooperation and unity is a powerful statement against the religious violence of the Boko Haram,” he said, adding that some of the Christian pastors and Muslim Imams from Nigeria were at the conference.

Dr Chandaria on his part thanked GPF for working hard with the Kenyan leadership of former President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to promote peace after the 2007 post-election violence, saying  the hosting of the second GPF conference in Nairobi in 2010 helped revamp peace in the country.