Congratulatory Remarks to the Annual Friendship Dinner

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Congratulatory Remarks to the
Annual Friendship Dinner
Organized by the
Pacific Dialogue Foundation
by: Rev. Yoshitaka Hatakeyama, ACRP Secretary General
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June 23, 2016; 6:00pm; Makati Shangri-La Hotel

 

Dr. Cihanger Arslan, President of the Pacific Dialogue Foundation, Fr. Thomas Michel, our distinguished speaker, His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, and to all our religious leaders and peace-advocates present this evening, ladies and gentlemen, my warmth greetings to all of you.

Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (Religions for Peace Asia) is in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers as they undertake the month-long Ramadan celebration. The Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP), founded in 1976, is the world’s largest regional body of religiously-inspired people working for peace and interreligious harmony based on the tenets of truth, justice and human dignity in their individual countries, in the Asia-Pacific region and across the world.

While the period of Ramadahn is strictly an Islamic celebration, I sincerely commend and appreciate Pacific Dialogue Foundation for sharing this deeply religious activity to all of us to promote mutual understanding, respect and friendship. Our Iftar-dinner is an expression, according to the ACRP 8th Assembly declaration, of “revitalizing Asia’s religious heritage to promote a creative and critical awareness in the pursuit of peace, justice and human dignity, and of motivating religiously-inspired people to make concerted efforts to promote peace.”

In doing its work, ACRP follows the path of “Divine purpose of this world.” In his message to the ACRP 8th General Assembly, Fetullah Gullen said that (the message was delivered by Dr. Cihanger Arslan, our organizer and host for this wonderful event this evening)

“our first and foremost task is to follow the divine purpose which requires us to meet, know and understand one another as different nations and communities to come closer and cooperate. This is incumbent on us as individuals, communities, nations and countries so that we can get to know and properly communicate and make this world a land of peace and serenity and ultimately know ourselves better by knowing each other better.”

We, religious leaders, have the implacable mandate to become instrument of the realization of the “Divine Purpose.”   The gathering of various religious leaders and believers in unity with our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrating the Ramadhan indicate our willingness and submission to the path of the “Divine purpose.” For this reason, I reiterate my congratulation and gratitude to our Pacific Dialogue Foundation partner for this wonderful opportunity.

I am also happy to note the active collaboration of the interfaith-group in the Philippines. The various chapters of ACRP, as well as the Religions for Peace International community are aware and continue to benefit from the fruitful partnership between Religions for Peace Philippines and Pacific Dialogue Foundation, together with other religious communities.

Finally, at a time where religion is hijacked and manipulated by politics, extremists and even negative media publicity, “Religious communities should work strenuously for peace and harmony.” ACRP, as a regional inter-religious body guided by our “deeply held and widely shared values,” is committed to partnering with you in “transforming violent conflict, bringing about just and harmonious societies, advancing sustainable development goals, caring for the earth, promoting nuclear and conventional disarmament and protecting human rights.”

Once again, I would like to express my gratitude for the honor and privilege of sharing the vision of ACRP. Thank you.