OUR RELIGIOUS CALL: ACTIVELY TRANSFORMING THE EXTREMISTS
TOWARDS ACHIEVING UNITY AND HARMONY IN OUR HUMAN FAMILY
The first annual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace / Religions for Peace Asia (ACRP) to be held of the members who had been newly elected at the Incheon General Assembly 2014, was convened in the beautiful city of Bandung in Indonesia from 3rd – 4th June 2015. The meeting was attended by 59 representatives from 16 Asian and Pacific countries.
ACRP in collaboration with the Center for Dialogue and Cooperation among Civilizations (CDCC) launched its annual meeting with an international seminar on Asian Multireligious Action to Overcome Violent Religious Extremism held at Gedung Merdeka, the venue of the historic Asian and African Conference in 1955, which was attended by over 200 delegates.
The Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia H.E.M. Yusuf Kalla formally opened the international seminar by inspiring all religious leaders to work harmoniously for peace, emphasizing that “with God being Merciful, the call to peace is always the objective of Islam.” In her keynote address, Hon. Retno Marsudi, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, identified lack of education, poverty and the contemporary unethical use of the internet and social media as root causes of conflicts and extremism in the name of religion.
ACRP affirms its hallmark mission of advancing multireligious cooperation in working for peace by discerning deeply held and widely shared moral values and principles 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.
At this critical moment in history, while we are witnessing the emergence of a truly global human family and of the hope arising from national and international multireligous cooperation, we are strongly concerned with the horrific acts of violent extremism in the name of religion, which threatens human life and disrupts every section of society throughout the world.
ACRP considers that ideological extremism stems from cognitive distortions, which help explain the unreasonable or extremist understandings of religious texts, including the belief in harmony between theory and reality and monopolization of the religious truth. We firmly believe that there can be no religious sanction for extremism, violence and terrorism.
ACRP condemns all forms of violence, in particular the extremists’ misuse and abuse of religion. Countering violent extremism must include the need to address the psychological and spiritual need to belong and to be part of something bigger than oneself by teaching young people to build a meaningful life. Moreover, strong concerted international cooperation is imperative in suppressing violence, emphasizing in particular the importance of local governance.
Meanwhile, ACRP believes that we need to reflect profoundly on ourselves about how the acts of violent extremism in the name of religion are not only a problem of someone else but also a problem of ours that can not allow us to become or remain indifferent. With this insight in mind, we ought to envisage what are the factors behind the frequent irruptions of violent extremism and where they come from.
ACRP recognizes that we tend to see violent extremists as our enemies. This is well understood. But we ought dare to try to see them as non-adversaries, believing that some time in the future they will mend their behaviors, be reunited with the human family who “welcome the other” and they will yearn for a world of ‘unity and harmony.’
In this historic gathering, ACRP commences its journey towards celebrating its 40th anniversary next year with an Asian wide movement:
“STOP VIOLENT EXTREMISM!”
As religious leaders, we are called upon to fulfill our responsibility to stop extremism in the name of religion by transforming extremist behavior through love, compassion, non-violence, justice, proper education and other positive human values.
ACRP is determined to engage its network to common action at the regional, national and local levels in overcoming violent extremism in the name of religion.
ACRP, therefore, commits to:
– Support and partner with various stakeholders for the implementation of The Abu Dhabi Statement on Rejecting Violent Religious Extremism and Advancing Shared Well-being issued by Religions for Peace and Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in December 2014.
– Urge National Chapters to actively engage extremists in peace-making programs and activities through multi-religious action.
– Call on governments to create re-integration programs, in partnership with ACRP national chapters providing pastoral psychosocial counseling and spiritual healing, for those who have been involved in violent extremist activity.
– Call on the Religions for Peace Asia and the Pacific Interfaith Youth Network (RfPAP-IYN) to launch an Asian-wide campaign for “STOP VIOLENT EXTREMISM.” ACRP expresses its deep gratitude to Hon. Dr. Ahmad Heryawan, L.c., the Governor of West Java, The Hon. Ridwan Kamil, the Mayor of Bandung, and the Center for Dialogue and Cooperation among Civilizations for their invaluable contributions, encouragement and support for the success of its annual meeting.
Bandung, 4 June 2015
The Leadership of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP)
Moderator: Dr. Din Syamsuddin (Indonesia)
Secretary General: Rev. Yoshitaka Hatakeyama (Japan)
Honorary President: Dr. Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat (Pakistan)
Co-Presidents: Master Chuanyin (China)
Prof. Desmond Cahill (Australia)
Rev. Nichiko Niwano rep. by Keiichi Akagawa (Japan)
Mrs. Lourdes Mastura (Philippines)
Mr. N. Vasudevan (India)
Dr. Lilian Sison (Women Committee
Executive Committee Members
Dr. Kazi Nurul Isla
Principal Sukumal Barua
Ven. Yon Seng Yeath, proxy for Mr. Yi Thon
Bishop Ma Yinglin
Master Xue Cheng
Ven. Ren. Farong
Imam Chen Guangyuan
Elder Fu Xianwei
Dr. Deepali Bhanot
Fr Bento Rodrigues
Mr. Abdul Mabood
Fr. Johannes Hariyanto SJ
Prof. Philip Widjaja
Prof. M. Machasin
Rev. Ms. Elga Sarapung
Rev. Keiji Kunitomi Megumi Wada, proxy for Rev. Gijun Sugitani
Republic of Korea
Rev. Kim Kwang Jun
Rev. Jung In Ho
Mr. Yang Deog Chang
Ven. Dr. T. Bulgan
U Mint Swe
Dr. Poey Tiang Poew
Mr. Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat
Mr. Khalid Ikramullah Khan
Mr. Niazi Aman Ullah Khan, proxy for Mr. Khalid Nawaz Marwat
Rev. Prof. Medwachchiye Dhammajothi Thero
Dr. Chanin Tongdhamachart, proxy for Kanchana Soonsawad
Ms. Warapon Pongthornpisut, proxy for Prof. Kirti Bunchua
Religions for Peace International
Rev. Kyoichi Sugino
OUR RELIGIOUS CALL: ACTIVELY TRANSFORMING THE EXTREMISTS