( November 5, 2016, Seoul, Sri Lanka Guardian) “You can make the other person an enemy if you have no knowledge about him. However, understanding between each other can serve as an answer to peace.”
On 18 October, Seyed Reza Hosseini Nassab, one of seven Grand Ayatollahs in the world, delivered a message at the 13th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office meeting about the importance of communication and harmony within religions to accomplish peace. He is one of the most respected Shia Islamic leaders from Iran residing in Toronto, Canada. As a publicity ambassador of HWPL, he is actively supporting the work of peace building, by taking the leading role in the WARP Office meetings in order to provide the legitimacy of cooperation among religious leaders for peace.
The theme of “the End Times” elaborated in religious scriptures was the heated discussion between Christianity and Islam. The WARP Office meetings aim at overcoming misunderstanding among religions so that understanding among different religions can shed light on peacebuilding processes and prevention of unnecessary conflicts today.
Regarding end times recorded in Quran, Grand Ayatollah Hosseini Nassab said, “When end times come, peace and justices will be practiced to lead humanity to the greatest prosperity ever.” and added, “for this, along with Jesus Christ, Imam Mahdi is prophesied to come to the world as a savior.”
Hanna Kim from International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) said, “According to the speaker for Christianity, a savior will come to deliver the words of God at end times, therefore God and humanity will be linked again. Similarities between the prophecies of two religions about the end times were intriguing enough.”
The Grand Ayatollah himself is heavily influenced by atrocities of war. He vividly remembers his childhood when he witnessed the tragic war between Iran and Iraq. “If you yourself are prone to wars, you will come to realize nothing can be worse than them,” he said. Further, he raised his voice by saying, “Peace is the best value that will protect us and our descendants.”
His continued cooperation with HWPL for peace also brought about impression and inspiration to many international leaders when he delivered a keynote speech at the 2nd Annual Commemoration of WARP Summit last month in Seoul, Republic of Korea. He urged for the implementation of international law for peace based on DPCW – a declaration containing articles to ban wars even including those of religious nature. In his speech, he said, “We should prevent our religious views from being exploited as the pretexts for wars.” His message for global cooperation in making a peaceful world played a significant role in reminding religious leaders’ mission to promote a culture of peace and raise the public’s awareness of justice.
HWPL is an international organization in affiliation with United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI). Its principal peace initiative is to implement international law for peace through “Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)”, and harmony among religions through interfaith communication. Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL points out that the vast majority of wars are caused by religious feud, which requires religious leaders to become bridge-builders of peace, rather than spearhead of wars. To make peace most precious value in our times, HWPL has been organizing a series of forums for dialogues of religions in 183 offices in 91 countries.