International Symposium Discusses Peace Building
An international symposium on "Peace Building Through Dialogue" was held November 19-20 at the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo. It was held under the joint auspices of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Center for Contemporary Islamic Studies and Dialogue of Civilizations, Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Monotheistic Religions at Doshisha University in Kyoto. Some one hundred people of religion and researchers took part, including Dr. Yoshiaki Sanada, director of the Peace Research Institute of the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (Religions for Peace Japan).
The symposium was prompted by the Madrid Declaration, adopted at the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid in 2008, which calls for dialogue between people of different religions and cultures, and the dissemination of a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The World Conference on Dialogue was organized by the Muslim World League under the patronage of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. Rissho Kosei-kai's president, Rev. Nichiko Niwano, attended the conference in Madrid at the invitation of the Muslim World League.
During a session on November 19, Dr. Sanada made a presentation on peace building and the role of people of religion. He pointed out that the 9/11 terrorist attacks had not only given rise to new conflicts in retaliation but also heightened distrust and surveillance throughout the world. On the other hand, he said, there have been many activities promoting reconciliation through religious dialogue and cooperation, with which religious communities have strengthened their cooperation with governments, the United Nations, and other international organizations in work for peace. Referring to the meetings and symposiums held in Japan by Religions for Peace Japan in cooperation with Islamic religious leaders since 2009, he emphasized that in order to build true world peace, it is important for people to accept their differences and live together in peace. He said religion has the power to lay the foundation for this and that it is the mission of people of religion.
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