In September 2019, the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) organized the second "international and interreligious conference against extremism and violence - for inclusive communities" on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar together with the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre (ZANZIC), where Muslims, Christians and members of other religious communities are engaged against violence and extremism. The results and recommendations of the conference have now been published in a book that can be downloaded via the following link: www.vemission.org/interreligious_action_for_peace.
Seventy participants from eleven countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, including representatives of Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic and Evangelical religious communities, took part in the meeting last year. The aim was to exchange experiences from various regional and local interreligious initiatives on how to effectively counteract radicalization and extremism.
In the final declaration, the representatives of the various religious communities committed themselves to discussing issues of global justice and to fighting radicalization and violence together. With a public peace march, the participants also set a visible sign for peaceful coexistence and the building of inclusive communities.
"We hope that this meeting and the contributions and recommendations now published will encourage and inspire those who are committed to interreligious cooperation against the resistance in their own religious communities," says Jochen Motte, member of the UEM board. This is especially true at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the world that we are all equally affected, regardless of religion or place of residence, and that we can only meet this and other challenges, such as climate change, together.
Regarding the significance of the conference for the African context, Professor Dr Kambale Kahongya, responsible for human rights and peace work at UEM's regional office in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, says: "Although religious extremism is a major global challenge today, we as Africans believe that the participants of this conference will contribute through their religious and social organizations to combating the dangerous trend towards radicalization of entire families especially through educational programs among children and young people.”
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