Religious freedom summit opens with stories of religious violence and resilience

Ministerial Advance Religious Freedom

Ministerial Advance Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON (RNS) — The rabbi of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, site of an October mass shooting, tries to avoid using the word “hate” and wishes others would do the same.

A Muslim man who lost his wife in the March attack on his New Zealand mosque urges love for every human being.

A Christian woman from Sri Lanka hopes religious leaders will remain compassionate even in the wake of terrorist bombings that killed Christians attending Easter services in the spring.

All three spoke at the opening of the State Department’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on Tuesday (July 16). They shared first-person stories of violence against houses of worship — and resilience of survivors — that help fuel the department’s goal to enhance religious liberty across the globe.

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Untold story of brutal rise of militant Buddhism: ‘It is our duty to fight’

Monks Praying in temple

Monks in Sri LankaGINTOTA, Sri Lanka: The Buddhist abbot was sitting cross-legged in his monastery, fulminating against the evils of Islam, when the petrol bomb exploded within earshot. But the abbot, the Venerable Ambalangoda Sumedhananda Thero, barely registered the blast. Waving away the mosquitoes swarming the night air in the southern Sri Lankan town of Gintota, he continued his tirade: Muslims were violent, he said, Muslims were rapacious.

Read more…Untold story of brutal rise of militant Buddhism: ‘It is our duty to fight’

Concern and Solidarity for West Papua: The World Council of Churches Executive Committee Statement

World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches

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.

Read more…Concern and Solidarity for West Papua: The World Council of Churches Executive Committee Statement

Extremists Won’t Hinder Interfaith Dialogue

Nazareth


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.

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Dalai Lama Says His Successor May Come From India, Sends Message to China

XIV Dalai Lama


Dharamshala: The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, said on Monday it was possible that once he dies his incarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years, and warned that any other successor named by China would not be respected.

Read more…Dalai Lama Says His Successor May Come From India, Sends Message to China