The U.N. General Assembly has adopted a resolution designating August 22 as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. The resolution expresses concern at “continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and minorities”.
Yangon, Myanmar – A court in Myanmar has issued an arrest warrant against Wirathu, a notorious Buddhist monk whose hate-preaching sermons against the Rohingya and other minority Muslims have stoked religious tensions.
The monk, who once reportedly dubbed himself the “Burmese bin Laden”, faces up to life imprisonment under the country’s sedition law, which prohibits stirring up “hatred”, “contempt” or “disaffection” towards the government.
The World Council of Churches Executive Committee issued a statement on 23 May expressing concern and solidarity for the people of West Papua who are facing violence and human rights violations.
In February of 2019, 23 members of an ecumenical Pilgrim Team visited four separate locations in West Papua in what is believed to be the first time that such a large and diverse international delegation has visited the territory since its integration into Indonesia in 1969. Observations by the Pilgrim Team indicate persistently high levels of violence and human rights violations, including recently in the Nduga Regency resulting in the displacement of many people from remote communities in this Highlands Region.
Pope Francis appoints 66-year-old Spanish Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot as the new President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. This appointment fills the Presidential vacancy since the passing of Cardinal Tauran in 2018.
As part of the European Union-funded project “Southeast Asia: Advancing Inter-Religious Dialogue and Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)”, The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers is seeking peace action-orientated Interfaith Fellows to advance a growing body of interfaith peacebuilding work in South and Southeast Asia. The project is being implemented in consortium with Finn Church Aid, Sathirakoses Nagapradipa Foundation, World Faiths Development Dialogue, Islamic Relief Worldwide and World Conference of Religions for Peace.
Interfaith dialogue is a necessity in our age. In a world suffering from armed conflicts, diplomatic standoffs and trade wars, cooperative and constructive interaction between people of different religious traditions is fundamental to solidifying peace and stability, and stemming racism, xenophobia, radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism.
A delegation from the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Canberra visited Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse (of Canberra Goulburn) last week (May 15) as part of their observation of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance.
At a conference with the theme “Promoting Peace Together” held in Geneva on 21 May, religious leaders focused on two historic documents related to peace-making. The first, “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” was jointly signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi in February. The second, “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective,” jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Council of Churches (WCC), was officially launched at the conference.
His Eminence Dr Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders held a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, during the latter’s visit Cairo, on April 29, 2019.