UEM News

‚Zanzibar Spirit‘ – for peace and inclusive communities

Participants of the second interreligious peace conference of UEM in Stone Town on Zanzibar during the peace march (Photo: Marion Unger / UEM).

The second interreligious peace conference of the United Evangelical Mission in Stone Town on Zanzibar ended on 23 September with an impressive peace march.

70 representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faith communities from eleven countries in Asia, Africa and Europe met from 20-23 September 2019 to discuss together how extremism and violence can be overcome at local, regional and global levels. In their final message, the participants emphasize their willingness to work together and support each other in promoting peace and justice and building inclusive communities.

The conference took place in a context that for centuries has been marked by influences of Islamic, Christian and other religions.

The host was the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre (ZANZIC). Participants visited various interfaith projects, including with women and youth. The message of the participants met with great public interest. Spiritual dignitaries of Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Jewish religious communities from all over the world presented them at the end of the conference in the centre of Stone Town. The rally ended with a common interfaith prayer.

"In this form there has not been a common appearance of religious leaders from Zanzibar" - Father Gaudene Mushi, a participant of the conference from Tanzania, summed up.The conference in Zanzibar followed on from the first interreligious conference in 2017 in Wuppertal. In addition to the UEM, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia and Justitia et Pax were also involved.

Jochen Motte, member of the UEM board, welcomed the continuation of this process, begun in 2017, as a pilgrimage for justice and peace. Participants expressed the desire to combine the agreements made for increased cooperation and exchange with a third meeting in Asia in 2022. The declaration can be downloaded here.

UEM will examine how and in what way interfaith cooperation can be strengthened and further anchored in its educational programs.

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