In continuation of interfaith activities and cooperation with the United Nations, the IMAM Organization participated in the program to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week (Feb 1-7). This year, due to the density of UN programs, some meetings related to this week were held later. This event, themed “Overcoming Hate and Reaching Across the Divide to the Other – Partnering and Peacebuilding at the Grassroots Level,” was held on February 27, 2024, at the UN Headquarters in New York.

In his conversations with the participants, the representative of the IMAM Organization at the UN emphasized the need for greater sensitivity and more effective efforts by religious leaders and institutions to address the crises and solve the problems of the contemporary world. He recalled a slogan that became prevalent during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis: “No one is safe until everyone is safe,” and stated that the same applies to war and insecurity.

Therefore, now that genocide continues in Palestine, it is necessary for all religious leaders, from followers of Abrahamic religions to others such as Hindus and Buddhists, to protest and take action against it. Just as if a tyrannical government were to violate the rights of Buddhists, for example, and threaten their lives, all religious leaders should protest and do everything they can to stop such injustices. This is because all people are members of one family and creatures of God.

He called for greater collaboration among religious leaders in combating violence, from violent rhetoric to actual violence and war, which is the worst form of it. He added that one of the worst phenomena is extremist and violent interpretations of religious texts, and religious leaders can and should, through their enlightenment, demonstrate the inaccuracies of these interpretations to people, particularly young individuals, and clarify that the lofty goal of all religions is to invite people to coexist.

In response to a question about Islamic recommendations and teachings regarding situations where violent behavior occurs, he stated that different responses are necessary in different circumstances. For example, in the face of oppressors, resistance is necessary to stop them. However, this general recommendation in the Quran is very broad: “Virtue and evil are not equal. If you replace evil habits by virtuous ones, you will certainly find that your enemies will become your intimate friends.” [41:34]

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