25.07.06 17:03 Alter: 6 yrs

Religions for Peace: An Urgent Appeal to Stop the Spiraling Violence in Lebanon and Across the Middle East

 

For the past three years, the global theme of Religions for Peace Youth has been "Confronting Violence and Advancing Shared Security". Nine regional events were held around that theme in Asia, North America, Latin America, Japan, Africa, Eastern & Central Europe, Middle East, Western Europe, as well as Israel & Palestine, bringing together around 900 religious youth leaders from 80 different countries. These regional events will culminate in the Religions for Peace World Youth Pre-Assembly scheduled between August 21st and 25th, 2006 in Hiroshima and Kyoto - Japan.

As the last of these regional preparatory events was unfolding in Jerusalem on July 14th to 16th, 2006, where some 20 religious youth leaders from both Israel and Palestine where discussing ways and means to confront violence and advance shared security in one of the most conflict ridden areas of the world, a new spiral of violence between Israel and Lebanon had just started.

This spiral of violence affected heavily this regional youth meeting. A prospective participant from Palestine was too affected by the events to take part of in the meeting, while another confirmed participant from Israel could not attend because he was called out of the reserves for military service.

Despite the unfortunate events, and as the program of the meeting unfolded, one could clearly witness the constructive atmosphere and the positive energy spread by the youth in overcoming political divides and in building a relationship of trust and mutual understanding.

In their final declaration, participants clearly acknowledged the role of the religious leaders and the religious communities in transforming conflict, building peace, and advancing sustainable development, building on their unique moral and ethical assets and on their extensive social network.

Consequently, the WCRP International Youth Committee - one of the main organizers of the conference - decided to launch a global call for all religious youth leaders and members, especially those who took part in the regional preparatory events for the World Youth Assembly, to send messages of support for respecting the integrity and the dignity of human life in the raging conflicts across the Middle East. These messages will be compiled and presented to the competent religious and political authorities across the Middle East and especially in Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Palestine.

Step 1 : Please send your messages of support to the following email address: rfp-youthvoice (at) wcrp.or.jp
Kindly note that all political messages cannot be retained.
Please send your message in your own language.

Step 2 : Once all messages are compiled, they will be relayed to the WCRP Youth partners across the Middle East.

Step 3 : The WCRP Youth partners will - in turn - relay these messages where needed

Step 4: The outcomes from this initiative will be presented during the Youth Pre-Assembly in August 2006 in Japan

Collecting period: 25th of July to 5th of August.

Please send us a message as soon as possible because this is the 10 days campaign.

Ziad MOUSSA
Coordinator
WCRP Int'l Youth Committee

Rev. Koichi MATSUMOTO
Deputy Coordinator
WCRP Int'l Youth Committee