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Peace University Symposium Addresses Violent Extremism

March 2017

The World Conference of Religions for Peace Japan held a Peace University Symposium at Daigoji temple in Kyoto on March 7. The theme was "Dialogue with Violent Extremists: What Can People of Religion Do?" About 100 people attended, including the chair of Rissho Kosei-kai's Board of Trustees, Rev. Takeshi Kawabata.
In his keynote address, Dr. Yoshiaki Sanada, former director of the Peace Research Institute of Religions for Peace Japan, explained that the word "dialogue" originally meant God's words to human beings. He said religious leaders should help build world peace by advocating dialogue and nonviolence. To correct the popular misunderstanding that Islam involves violence, Dr. Sanada said religious leaders should take the lead in promoting a correct understanding of Islam. He said non-Muslim religious leaders should make clear their willingness to understand Islam and thereby create an environment in which dialogue with extremists is possible. In conclusion, he emphasized the importance of appealing to Islamic countries, as well as the whole world, to cultivate the values common to all religions, including the sanctity of life, shared security, and unity in diversity.
A panel discussion followed, in which Dr. Sanada was joined by Dr. Kazuko Shiojiri, a professor emerita of the University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Dr. Akira Kaneko, a professor at the Oyasato Research Institute of Tenri University, Nara Prefecture. 

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