Religions for Peace
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
“Only religions can save the world from a suicide of civilisations”, said the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, who met Pope Francis in a historic meeting in Egypt on 28 April 2017, as he took the floor at the meeting “Paths of Peace” [9-12 September 2017] organised by the Sant’Egidio Community in cooperation with the Dioceses of Münster and Osnabrück. The solution to the global challenges of our time “lies in a global humanitarian ethics that encompasses the East and the West, governs our contemporary world and guides its path. Religions, and only religions, can be an alternative to the contradictory and controversial ethics that has pushed our world towards what appears to be a suicide of civilisations”, said Ahmad al-Tayyib.
“The wars – said Ahmad al-Tayyib – are the raging wars that strike innocent people in their homes, in the streets, in their villages, in their towns, in their schools and in their circles. Or the wars that force them to flee their homes and countries and drive them towards an unknown which they may not fully understand and causes them great suffering”.
Al-Tayyib apologised to his audience for his pessimistic words, which, he explained, “come from the East where men, women, children and elderly people are paying a hefty price of blood, death and mass graves”, where “systematic murders and destructions continue to be carried out against people and stones and this has been going on for more than 5 years”. The East – al-Tayyib pointed out – “is once again a breeding ground for armed conflicts while the poor and miserable peoples who belong to it by birth, origin or education have paid and still pay for this absurdity by fighting proxy wars”.
Then the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar went on to refer to terrorism with this image: “Its history remains confused, it is like a foundling of unknown parents, of whom neither his father nor his mother are known”. Then he concluded by reminding religions of their fundamental role of peacemakers. “But – he added – all this is influenced by the fact that peace must be established among religions themselves. Indeed, as a famous saying goes: ‘there is no peace in the world without peace among the religions”.
(SIR: from our correspondent in Münster)