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Religious Communities in Search of Peace in Africa

ctober 22, 2001
Posted to the web October 19, 2001

Joseph K'amolo

A consortium of religious communities met in Nairobi, Kenya, recently in search of peace initiatives for Africa and the world in general.

The different faith communities met under the umbrella of United Religions Initiative (URI), a global movement charged with promoting peace, especially among the different religions of the world. This was the first regional assembly for Africa.

The four-day meeting between October 8-12 under the theme, "Our Quest for Peace and Development", brought together about 150 participants from around Africa and abroad.

The assembly objectives included letting participants experience URI as a foretaste of diverse, inclusive and peaceful community of the future; to facilitate leadership development through collective participation by all people at the assembly; to search for and develop peace building initiatives for URI communities across Africa, and to develop a URI Africa Development Strategy for the coming three years.

The Nairobi meeting was one of five such assemblies planned for various regions worldwide. It took place soon after a US-led military attack on Afghanistan in retaliation for the September 11 twin terrorists attack on New York and Washington DC.

In an address read to the assembly by a participant, the Executive Director of URI, Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs, noted that interfaith communities were gathering in the shadow of the devastating terrorist attacks, with many countries in Africa being under violence threats.

He said people were living under uncertainty, not knowing what would happen next, and whether there would be more terrorist attacks or war, either of which affects civilians.

"In these uneasy times," said Rev. Canon Gibbs, "you are a flame of hope brightly burning for Africa and for the world. You are members of a global community whose purpose is to promote enduring, daily interfaith co-operation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create a culture of peace, justice and healing."

He praised the assembly participants for working to fulfil the purpose of harmonious co-existence in Africa in diversity.

The faiths represented in the assembly included the Bahai, Islamic, the Christian, and the Sikh faiths.

©Copyright 2001, African Church Information Service

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