Institutionalization of Peace for Religions and the Value of DPCW
Shafiek Nolan, Imam of Westridge Mosque
Assalaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu.
Greetings of love, peace, mercy and blessings to our family and messengers of peace around the world.
I am Moulana Shafiek Nolan from Mitchells Plain South Africa and I have been a participant at the HWPL WARP Office for a number of years now. I am thrilled and very excited to be communicating with you at this very auspicious occasion of the 6th Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War.
Dear friends, it is the unfortunate reality that peace to many is only a fantasy. In many parts of the world, women, children, elderly and men alike, they are crying desperately for the end of wars and oppression. Some have given up on the dream of equal peace for all, others still believe it is within their human reach even though they don’t know anything else but destruction, mayhem and wars.
It should be the mission of all sectors of our global society to aspire to the realization of the DPCW. Articles 8 and 9 of the DPCW emphasize the importance of peace between religions and the cessation of religious conflict. The monthly scripture dialogue hosted by HWPL particularly aims to create a platform to breakdown misunderstandings of religious scripture and practices, mirroring the values expressed in the DPCW.
I have engaged in many interfaith platforms; however, WARP Office is the first one that I have committed myself to on a continuous basis. Initially I did not know what to expect from the WARP Offices, but after getting involved in many peace activities of HWPL, the peace walks and the peace summit in Korea, it became very clear that there is a noble purpose with a clear goal to create religious harmony and global peace.
At that moment, I resolved that this is something that I have to be a part of. As a Muslim and a representative of Islam in the WARP Office, there were occasions where I had a particular understanding and a particular view on a given subject. The discussions and dialogues inspired me to dig in very deep into my own scripture and develop a holistic view in line with Islamic teachings.
This shows as religious leaders, we can learn from each other, and through discussion create understanding amongst religious leaders for the purpose of ending religious misunderstandings. These experiences we take to our congregation and encourage them with the same mindset, not to seek for differences but to seek for understanding.
An example of this is when we hosted the WARP Office at our mosque. After the sessions, I had congregants expressing how thought provoking and interesting the views from other panelists were. This is indeed the culture that emanates from the vision of WARP Office which influences people of faith to instill within them the culture of religious harmony, institutionalizing sustainable peace, and achieving a culture where people of faith understand the importance of communication and consistently interact with people of different religions.
Oh people of Scripture, come to a common word and understanding which is the same between us.
Fellow peace messengers, we are living in an age of information explosion where accurate and inaccurate information is readily available to anyone. It is our collective duty as religious leaders to lead our congregants with accurate information and ensure that we advance the true objectives of our scripture. For indeed, all heavenly revealed scriptures have a common goal for all mankind, and that is, apart from others, to inspire wholesome and peaceful living with closeness to the Almighty.
The newsletter and WARP Office Journals that HWPL has sent globally to people of faith is a wonderful initiative that is vital in achieving the institutionalization of peace within religion. It has the potential to discredit any incorrect narrative that may be portrayed in the media or people’s minds about other religions. As I have been informed, this initiative has encouraged leaders who had not previously participated in WARP Office to join and engage in scripture dialogue, further expanding the work of peace and religious harmony.
This initiative is an essential mechanism to serve the purpose of realizing mutual understanding and mutual respect for each other’s faith. As a faith leader from the Islamic faith, I wish to commend HWPL for the wonderful platform of WARP Office, and during the lockdown where we could not meet, this online platform was facilitated in order to forward the work of peace where religious leaders as well as the global community could converge for the common objective of realizing peace.
WARP Office is growing and expanding despite these challenges that we face. I will continue to work to grow this peace initiative, and we advise everyone to do the same. As faith leaders, we need to stay committed and march forward relentlessly for the sake of peace until its realization. Together with HWPL, let’s all be the voice of peace for the voiceless and the hope for the hopeless.
I thank you all most kindly and greet you with a greeting of universal peace.
Wassalaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu.