International NGO and local community seek religious harmony during the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW)

International NGO and local community seek religious harmony during the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW)

HWPL hosted an interfaith dialogue in Berlin to protect human rights from religious discrimination

The first week of February of each year is the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) was designated by the United Nations. Since 2010, in order to resolve discrimination and conflicts caused by religion, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution in support of the WIHW.

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC hosted an interfaith dialogue with local religious leaders from Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam to seek conflict resolution and overcome religious discrimination. This is a part of HWPL’s global advocacy of interfaith dialogues named World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office Meetings in 218 locations from 126 countries.

In the event, it was suggested that egoism and extremism – prominent in the political and cultural aspects of modern society – are also affecting the religious world, thereby raising the level of religious discrimination to the degree of outright human rights violations.

The core of the discussion in the event was about the death of a Korean woman after a series of violent behavior of her family members motivated by a Christian pastor to change her religion. Called “coercive conversion programs”, Ms. Ji-In Gu was kidnapped and forced to have the program twice in an isolated Catholic monastery and pension where such activities are not exposed easily. Currently, her death led 120,000 Korean citizens to gather together and urge the Korean government to found the legal framework against religious discrimination.

Mr. Vaidya Nathan, General Secretary of Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple, commented that "In any holy script of Hindus it doesn't say a word about hate and not even a single word about other religion compare to other religions. Only through discussions like HWPL WARP Office may solve this problem.”

Another Buddhist participant, Phramaha Monchai Saitanaporn emphasized, "If we start to build good things within ourselves and people around us, and if everyone does that, finally we can make the whole society better and nice place. But it all starts with us so we need to practice religion and accept differences first, and show other people love and kindness. In this WARP Office, it is good that we can see each other’s religion’s point and try to understand each other. What is important is that we have to admit that there are differences and accept the differences. Then we can start to build peace and harmony together."

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