Let Peace Prevail

Let Peace Prevail | Speaking Tree | TOI | 6th February 2012

Faith can move mountains; it can also cause strife and violence. If God is with everybody then what is it that makes people kill in the name of religion?

Recently, a 'Dialogue on Religion and Globalisation' was organised by Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, the Franciscan Missionaries and the OFM Province of St Thomas at Mater Dei School in New Delhi.

Missionszentrale der Franziskaner is an NGO based in Bonn, Germany. The German delegation was headed by Father Francis Kaviyil, an Indian who lives in Germany and who's mission is "to spread peace through dialogue and thus cross the boundaries that exist between cultures and religions." The delegates and representatives of different spiritual and religious organisations discussed the commonalities in different religions and ways to promote harmony between them.

All religions are nothing but different paths to reach God; they all talk of an inward journey of realisation, of surrendering to the Supreme Being; a higher consciousness you can call Krishna, Christ or Ahuramazda. "Christ's teaching, 'Love thy neighbour' finds echo in Islam. Prophet Muhammad always emphasised, 'Be good to your neighbour,' explained Maulana Wahiduddin Khan of the Centre For Peace And Spirituality. He added, "Together, the teachings of Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad mean be good to all humankind." All of us are interconnected in some way or the other and religion plays an important role in helping us become a better human being. To illustrate this point, Mohinder Singh, member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, recounted an incident from Guru Nanak's life. "When asked whether a person should be a good Hindu or a good Muslim, Guru Nanak said: 'One should endeavour to become a better human'."

What we need is to work towards a better tomorrow, in which we can co-exist peacefully. "We must raise a generation that looks upon the current phase of changing conditions in a hopeful way," said A K Merchant, trustee, Lotus Temple.

"Young people, from around the world, should make an effort to eradicate poverty, injustice and corruption. We must work towards bringing to an end, wars fought in the name of religion. For this, we want religious leaders to stand by us and set an example of what they preach," said Daniel Muller a young delegate from Germany. Maria Khan, a student of Islamic Studies, made a presentation on the concept of peace in Islam. Citing references from the Quran and the life of the Prophet, she explained that in Islam, peace is the rule and war is an exception. Let's make peace a rule that all of us can follow.