While, to some, fighting "extremism" might sound like a
good idea, this is exactly the kind of international
agenda that may some day be used to fight evangelical
Christians. If the U.N. is responsible for
defining what religious extremism is, their openly
proclaimed dislike for "intolerant" Christians would
seem to lump us in with those who need to be silenced
under this Charter.
The Charter defines the aims of the World Council of
Religious Leaders, launched on Wednesday as an
independent, U.N.-backed body representing Christianity,
Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and other
of various faiths in the newly established World Council
of Religious Leaders pledged on Friday to fight
religious extremism, poverty and environmental
More than 100
religious leaders ended a three-day meeting here after
signing a charter that says "it is our responsibility to
work together to remove all causes of tensions in our
defines the aims of the World Council of Religious
Leaders, launched on Wednesday as an independent,
U.N.-backed body representing Christianity, Buddhism,
Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and other religions.
this council and signing this charter, we are redefining
the role of religions in a world torn by conflict," said
conference organizer Bawa Jain.
was held against a backdrop of military tensions between
nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and violence between
Israel and the Palestinians.
there are some religious leaders who incite hatred and
divisiveness," said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a leading
U.S. activist devoted to religious freedom and human
rights. "I see ourselves as a counterweight of mutual
the terrorist events of Sept. 11 were a warning that
religious extremism must be countered by preachers,
clerics and monks, and that they must teach their flocks
Council of Religious Leaders was set up in line with
recommendations adopted by the Millennium World Peace
Summit held at the United Nations in August 2000.
commits the signatories to persuade their followers to
accept religious, ethnic and cultural differences, and
to live in harmony within diverse communities.
also aims to become an active partner with the United
Nations in reducing conflict, poverty and environmental
says the council will set up panels of experts to
discuss events and areas of potential religious tension
and conflicts. It also will consider and hear disputes
and matters of concern to any religion.
But it appeared
the council would, at best, be an advisory watchdog that
relies on the influence of its participants to defuse
governments are always willing to listen to spiritual
leaders have to work closely with politicians. It is how
we mobilize those leaders and work in a multi-religious
perspective that is important," Jain said.
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