Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations, Doris Abdullah, recently attended the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2012 at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Following is her report from the event:
“The Committee of Religious NGOs (non-governmental organizations) at the United Nations did a wonderful job bringing together representations from the world’s five mainstream religious communities (Jewish, Christian, Islamic, plus Hindu and Buddhist) in addition to many of the smaller religious bodies (Shinto, Baha’i, Sikh, Native, and Traditional) around the theme ‘Common Ground for the Common Good.’
“The program highlighted the common ground spoken of by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, president of the General Assembly, in the keynote address, and by William F Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace. The world religions share common ground, with four shared values elaborated on by the speakers: their desires for mediation and peaceful settlements of disputes, United Nations reforms, improvements in disaster prevention and response, and sustainable development.
“While many of the things that were said could be quoted, one stood out for me above all the others: ‘To be religious is to be interreligious.’ I cannot be religious by myself or just in my tradition alone. We share this planet with all its people and life forms. We are not alone, nor loners with our God. There is one religious quote that is found in most world religions, traditions, and beliefs: the Golden Rule that we in our Christian tradition find in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’
“Yuka Saionji from the Byakko Shinko Kai and the Goi Peace Foundation spoke of many prayers that came to Japan from around the globe after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, and her own personal belief in the power of prayer. Prayer is our hope for a better tomorrow, and we must continue in faith to pray for compassion and love so that we may overcome the evils of our world with good. Together we can do this.”
— In addition to serving as the UN representative for the Church of the Brethren, Doris Abdullah also is chair of the Human Rights Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.