Religious leaders points at dialogue for peace
Threats on environmental welfare and global peace are at the center of the religious leaders’ concerns during a meeting at the 17th Eurasia Economy Summit. AA photo
Inter-religious dialogue within nations would lead to the success in attaining regional peace, prominent religious leaders of the Eurasia region and lawmakers have highlighted during a panel on “The Importance of Dialogue in Peace,” during the 17th Eurasia Economy Summit. “Peace is almost in the DNA of the religion,” Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Turkey İsak Haleva said during a speech in the panel.
In addition to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Istanbul Mufti Rahmi Yaran, the religious community representatives present at the summit included, leaders of the Azerbaijan Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and the Jewish community, as well as the spiritual leader of the Turkish Syrian Community Yusuf Çetin and the mufti of Serbia Muhammed Jusufspahic.
Lawmakers from Macedonia, Greece, Israel and Albania also had the opportunity to address the participants of the panel, where the vitality of inter-religion and international tolerance was highlighted.
“Nobody should be afraid of each other nor should perceive the other as threat,” the Istanbul mufti said in his speech, dubbing “communication” as the first requirement for achieving of peace.
He urged every human being to realize “his existential responsibility” and “work to ensure the well-being of his home and his country first, only then to maintain world peace.” Particularly the threats on environmental welfare and global peace were at the center of the religious leaders’ concerns.
They also called attention to the imbalances created by economic preferences made by national states.
“They spent over $1.2 trillion for arms purchase, for killing people, but there are still millions of people suffering from economic inequalities,” Monsignor Yusuf Sağ, Patriarchal Vicar of Turkey for Syrians, said in his remarks.
The head of Alliance of Civilizations National Coordination Committee Bekir Karlıağ stated living together is impossible without knowing and understanding “the other.” “We need two tools for reaching peace,” he stated. “The first is intercultural dialogue at local levels, because cultures are conflicting at their core. The second is unification on a global basis.”
Therefore, the world needs to define a new civilizational concept that should be multi-dimensional, he stressed. And the religions’ common values should be at the center of this multidimensional civilization understanding, according to him. These concepts should not remain solely words, in order to be effective, he also noted.
Çetin, meanwhile, said it should not be hard for religions to find common values, considering their denominators, stating people should be able to communicate without trying to change their believes.
“Peace is people from different religions being able to talk without pressuring each other,” he said, giving historical examples of interreligious interactions, particularly in the cultural sphere, which benefited on all sides.
The president of International Biopolitics Organization Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis, who attended the conference for the ninth year in a row, focused on the advantage of co-existing, which put some responsibility on them. However, as the political leaders are comfortable with the current system with fixing apparent problems with only minor steps, reshaping the system and solving problems like environmental issues fall to us, particularly religious leaders, she said.
Also speaking at the panel, the Serbian mufti said there is no time to lose when peace and well-fare are the issues at stake.
“These are the last days of our lives. That’s why we shouldn’t be lost and we should talk,” he said.