By Pasquale Annicchino
Soon after Pope Francis was elected, a TEDx conference at the Vatican documented the rising tide of religious hostilities in the world. Since that time, religious hostilities have only risen.
At the Vatican yesterday, ANSA reports that former Israeli President Shimon Peres proposed the formation of a “United Religions” organization to combat terrorism. “The UN has had its time,” Peres was quoted as saying by Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana. “What we need is an organization of United Religions, the UN of religions.”
“It would be the best way to combat these terrorists who kill in the name of their faith, because most people are not like them, they practise their religions without killing anyone, without even thinking about it. I think that there should be a charter of the United Religions, just like there is the UN Charter. The new charter would serve to establish in the name of all the faiths that slitting people’s throats or conducting mass slaughters, like the ones we have seen in recent weeks, has nothing to do with religion. This is what I proposed to the pope,” said Peres.
In a period a growing restrictions on religious freedom, the call from President Peres is an important reminder of the role and contribution that religious and belief groups can make to public life. They can not only inform our daily policy making, but also contribute to a commom higher call to the respect of human dignity against the instrumentalization of religion to justify terrorist acts.
If President Peres moves forward with his proposal, he deservers the greatest attention from the international community, including the business community. Indeed, religious restrictions and hostilities not only affect peace and security, they also jeopardize the socio-economic future of societies around the globe, according to the latest research.
Also, a recent publication documents several ways the business community is involved in fostering interfaith understanding and peace.