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Posts Tagged ‘Mindanao Peace Initiative’

Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK: Conference at Philippine Embassy

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 6, 2009


Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK

Briefing at the Philippine Embassy

November 3rd, 2009

Please Download  –   Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK Powerpoint

Group Photo Philippine Embassy

For more photos please click here

Mindanao Peace Initiative Briefing - Gene Alcantara, Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, Massimo Trombin, Charles Hardie, Robin Marsh

(Left to Right) Gene Alcantara, H.E. Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, Massimo Trombin, Charles Hardie, Robin Marsh

Massimo Trombin, the International Director of Field Operations of the Global Peace Festival, briefed the local Philippine community on the developments of the Mindanao Peace Initiative at the UK Philippine Embassy on November 3rd, 2009. The peace initiative is a Track II approach to support the official peace process by grassroots, youth, education and community service projects. Massimo Trombin, who has been active in the area since 2006, used a powerpoint presentation that can be down loaded from this link (Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK Powerpoint.)

There was a broad representation of the Philippine community including representatives of the embassy staff, media, the Mindanao UK group and the Philippine Muslim Association – UK group.

The evening began with Gene Alcantara, whose passion for the issue has been instrumental in developing a local support group, welcoming the audience. He emphasised that Philippinos in the UK were not able to forget the conflict in Mindanao even though the world’s attention was focused elsewhere. He was happy that Muslims from Mindanao were present to participate in this event and to express their views. “The diaspora can contribute to peace and development in Mindanao if only by making people aware of the issues ….. or raising funds for the peace efforts in Mindanao.”

The Ambassador HE Antonio Lagdameo made an excellent speech outlining the official peace process that we will upload shortly. Ambassador Lagdameo emphasised the Philippine Government’s determination to find a peace agreement for Mindanao before the end of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term of office in May 2010.

Mrs Loline Reed moderated the question and answer session. Dr Raheem Khan, a founding member of the Muslim Council of Britain and a Trustee of the Universal Peace Federation – UK, emphasised that Islam is a religion of peace during his comments.

Mindanao Peace Initiative Briefing - Philippine Embassy London

Dr Raheem Khan shaking hands with Sheikh Abdul Mannan Wahid of the Philippine Muslim Association UK

From this gathering and other meetings during Massimo’s visit it is planned to establish a Working Group in the UK that can support the efforts of the Mindanao Peace Initiative.

DSC05185 Mrs Loline Reed

Mrs Loline Reed

Andy Villalba

Andy Villalba: Mindanao - UK

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Special Welding Training for Muslim Brothers in Davao City

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 16, 2009

Special Welding Training for Muslim Brothers in Davao City

Project Recipients: 50 Muslim Brothers from the different Barangays in Davao City

Title of the Training: Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW NC II)

Start of Training:            July 20, 2009

End of Training:              October 15, 2009

Graduation Day:             October 16, 2009

Project Proponent:          JIB Welding Academy (Joji Ilagan Career Center Foundation)

Cooperators:                   TESDA – XI

City Government of Davao (Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte)

Service for Peace

Office of Councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta

ABS CBN – Davao

Backgrounder:

Muslim community in Davao City is one of the oldest established communities.  The steady growth of this community over the last twenty years and the expansion of its organizational activities warrant the allocation of resources so that their various needs can be properly addressed.

In order to contribute to uplift the lives and give career guidance to our Muslim brothers in Davao City the JIB Career Center Foundation who owns and managed JIB Welding Academy through its Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR) conceptualized a FREE special welding skill training to the 50 Muslim brothers to be equipped with the skills needed for them to be globally competitive.  Through the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship (PGS) implemented by TESDA – XI and the Scholarship grants of the JIB Foundation this training was made possible with the support from the City government of Davao through the Honorable City Mayor, Rodrigo R. Duterte and Service for Peace.  ABS-CBN – Davao is the lead media partner and office of Hon Councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta as cooperator.

Part I.

On July 15, 2009 the 50 identified Muslim scholars have undergone the orientation with the JIB Welding Academy regarding their schedules and the training expectations.  Ms. Nely Medrozo, was the lead trainer for these 50 scholars.  Ms. Medrozo divided the 50 scholars into 2 schedules the whole training did have the morning and afternoon trainings at 4 hours per day.

The scholars took up the following subjects before spending the rest of their training at the laboratory;

Review on their Basic English Language

How to make an application letter/resume

How to face a job Interview

Participation and Communication in the Work Place

Interpretation of Sketches, Drawings, Estimates and Calculations

Safety Practices

Part II

In the middle of their training one of the major cooperators of the project Service for Peace represented by Mr. Massimo Trombin together with Dr. Michael J. Lenaghan gave a career orientation on the scholars.

Part III

The scholars participated also during the 1st JIB – MHBian Welding Gold Cup…the Skill Olympics, a welding skill competition participated by the alumni and students of the JIB Welding Academy last September 30, 2009 the event was organized in connection with the celebration of the 2nd year anniversary of the Academy.  The rest of the scholars had fun joining the quiz bowl and took part in the other games during the fun filled celebration.

Part IV

The scholars also had their final exam last October 8, 2009 and after that they were preparing for their assessment tests that were conducted last October 13, 14 & 15, 2009 with TESDA representatives.  After all exams and tests were evaluated and completed the scholars had their graduation rites last October 16, 2009 with no less than Honorable Sara Z. Duterte as Guest speaker.  The Chairperson of the JIB Welding Academy Ms. Joji Ilagan Bian, Engr. Nestor S. Tabada, Provincial Director of TESDA – XI and Mr. Rizal Dalkilich, Director for Mindanao of Service for Peace were among the guests during the graduation rites.  The event was covered by the lead media partner of the project ABS CBN.  The cooperators and guests of the event gave their messages during the graduation.  The scholars are now processing all their requirements for their On the Job training with the industry.

Part V         PHOTO DOCUMENTATION

The Signing of the Working Paper

Project working paper signed. JIB Welding Academy, TESDA – XI< City Government of Davao, ABS CBN and SERVICE FOR PEACE.

Training Proper

The scholarship recipients during their training

Career Guidance

Service for Peace Dr. Michael L. Lenaghan and Mr. Massimo Trombin

Sidelights

The scholars participating in the skill Olympics, Quiz Bowl and other fun activities during the JIB Welding Academy 2nd Year Anniversary last September 30, 2009

Graduation Rites

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Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 27, 2009

Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival

By Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia

Other Mindanao Peace Initiative Reports link

Sunday, September 27, 2009

“Indigenous Peoples Forging Partnerships for Unity and Peace of One Family of God”

Tribal Summit

Tribal Summit

Malaybalay, Philippines – In the first tribal summit in Mindanao, which brought together more than 40 tribal chieftains along with educators, politicians, representatives from international NGOs, and religious practitioners from Christian, Muslim, and indigenous peoples, there was a new focus. They did not discuss terrorism, politics, military strategies, or arms control. Instead, they directed their energies on children’s education. In a word: peace for the sake of others, for our precious children.

Dr. Estrella A. Babano, Chairwoman of the Mindanao Peace Initiative and Region 10 Director of Department of Education, declared before an audience of over 250 people, “We must focus on our children. They are the common concern we all share, and this must be the framework and platform for our peace initiative.”

Babano went on to outline eight peace programs that highlight this youth-centered approach:

•    The Peace Village is an out-of-classroom, residential program using a total immersion technique to have people experience different cultures and ways of life.
•    The Arabic Language & Islamic Values Education program teaches children, both Muslim and non-Muslim, that Islam is a religion of peace.
•    The Indigenous Peoples Education Center aims at functional literacy for underprivileged people to help uplift their self-esteem and enable them to advance socially.
•    School of Peace educates administrators and trains teachers about the inherent value of each of the various peace programs available; then, on this foundation, it organizes Peace Education Centers using school systems.
•    Harvest of Hope has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministries of Fisheries to train 240 Mindanaoans in aquaculture and fish processing.
•    Child of Peace is an adopt-a-school scholarship program working through the Department of Education.
•    Kids say “No” to Guns, billed as “turning arms into farms,” has children “surrender” their toy guns for saplings which they plant throughout the southern Philippine island.
•    Peace Parks makes learning fun as small groups of eight to ten students visualize and then construct themes related to peace.

In the Opening Session, Dr. Chung Sik Yong, the Regional Chair of the Universal Peace Federation–Asia and special representative of the Universal Peace Federation Founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, said that, “the Universal Peace Federation sees ‘leadership’ as one of the most critical issues facing our world today, both in developed and developing nations.” He emphasized this by saying that good leadership was essential to peace and social development precisely because a good leader must emulate the qualities of a good parent—absolute unselfishness.

Florencio T. Flores, Jr., the Mayor of Malaybalay and host of the two-day Summit, said he eagerly responded to the Mindanao Peace Initiative invitation because “without peace, there is no development.” The city of Malaybalay is in the heart of the island of Mindanao, and the mayor was very grateful there had not been any bombing in the city so far.

The highest ranking educator attending the summit, the Under Secretary of the Department of Education Program on Indigenous Peoples, Dr. Manaros B. Boransing, presented an overview of the national curriculum that was developed to preserve the culture of all indigenous peoples throughout the Philippines.

Commissioner Jeanette C. Serrano-Reisland, the Ethnographic Region of Central Mindanao at the National Commission on Indigenous People, gave current data on the various tribal groups in the Philippines. She also praised President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because although the ancestral domain legislation was passed 12 years ago, President Arroyo was the first to implement it by issuing land certifications. Dr. Norma Gonos, Senior Program Officer for Indigenous Peoples Education, described the components of the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao experience, which concentrates on improving education for indigenous peoples.

In the afternoon session on the first day, Mr. Massimo Trombin, the International Vice-President of Service for Peace, delighted the audience when he told them that the Global Peace Festival was conceived in and born in the Philippines in 2006. The chairman of the Global Peace Festival, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, was deeply touched by seeing the Filipino lifestyle that integrated Eastern and Western cultures.

Here the vibrant love for music, singing and dance is accompanied by the spirit of family where everyone is a Tito / Tita (uncle or aunt) or Kuya / Ate (older brother or sister). Filipinos immediately embrace so-called strangers as family, encapsulating the spirit of the Global Peace Festival with its motto of “One Family Under God.”

Finally, Dr. Robert Kittel, Director of Education for UPF-Asia, pleased the multicolored crowd dressed in native costumes by saying that UPF had a very simple solution that would ensure peace in one generation — marry your enemy. It may take time for parents to love their in-laws, he said, but there is an instantaneous, irrepressible love between grandparents and grandchildren that bridges any historical resentment.

Two events highlighted the second day: a morning workshop where delegates drafted resolutions for the “Mindanao Tribal Summit,” followed by a Global Peace Festival (nearly 35 such festivals have been held throughout the Philippines this year). Over 200 participants performed skits, prayed, sang, and danced.

Concluding the two-day program at the Kaamulan Cultural Center, tribal chieftains signed the “Mindanao Resolution,” and 25 Ambassador for Peace certificates were distributed.

This Mindanao Tribal Summit and Global Peace Festival September 26 and 27 were sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the Department of Education, the Province of Bukidnon, and the City of Malaybalay.

Photo Links

Further photo reports of other events:

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/45/Field_trip_in_Marawi.04102009

http://tmeurope.multiply.com/photos/album/43/Garden_of_Peace_project

Original Report

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Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK: Filipino Evening

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 6, 2009

Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK: Filipino Evening

Wednesday 5 August 2009

There was a Filipino evening in London last night at which Gene Alcantara introduced the Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK to the local Filipino community. There were several purposes for the evening:

–  Launching the Mindanao Peace Initiative UK – an initiative that seeks to promote peace in Mindanao, through projects in education, youth service activities, and other initiatives to bring young and old from different communities together in this Philippine area of Christian-Muslim conflict, as well as awareness-raising in the UK. Although focussed on Mindanao, any progress we make will benefit the whole country as well as contribute to world peace.

–  Introducing the Luzviminda Foundation, a new association aiming to connect Filipinos in the UK from all  three main island groupings, and helping where it is needed.  Many of the current Filipino organisations are already focussed on their own provinces, and Luzviminda hopes to supplement their role by not being restricted geographically.

–  Welcoming H. E. Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo and other new officials at the Philippine Embassy in London.

During the evening Charles Hardie spoke passionately of his desire for peace in Mindanao. He had experienced through the Northern Ireland conflict the constant need for talks and economic development in order to bring peace.

Imam Abdul Mannan Wahid  from the Philippine Muslim Association – UK, spoke of Mindanao as a rich and bountiful island that requires peace to become prosperous.

Andy Vilalba emphasised the beauty of Mindanao and the need for greater awareness and understanding of its situation.

Other videos from the evening are available from http://www.youtube.com/user/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk

My apologies for the poor quality of the videos.

Robin Marsh

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Universal Peace Federation – Peace Council

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 6, 2009

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – Peace Council

43 Lancaster Gate

July 4th, 2009

Link for Photos:

UPF Peace Council - July 4th 2009

UPF Peace Council - July 4th 2009

Greetings from Lord King of West Bromwich - UPF Patron

Greetings from Lord King of West Bromwich - UPF Patron

Ambassador for Peace Award Recipients

Ambassador for Peace Award Recipients

The UPF Peace Council was held last Saturday on July 4th in order to gather together branches and committees of UPF across the UK. It was useful to promote the work of committees to those activists in parts of the UK where is less activity. It was also useful to identify new areas in which there is interest to develop UPF activities.

Reports from UPF Committee Chairs or active representatives.

Gene Alcantara - Mindanao Peace Initiative

Gene Alcantara - Mindanao Peace Initiative-UK

Gene Alcantara spoke about the Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK that involves supporting youth service activities, a Hip Hop convention and a number of other initiatives to bring young and old from different communities together in this Philippine area of Christian-Mulsim conflict. (For more information please see comment below. Click links  MinPI Also the link to various activities. Further Explanation By Gene Alcantara)

Cllr. Margaret Ali, Saleha Jaffer and Cllr. Janet Baddeley: UPF Community Cohesion Group

Cllr. Margaret Ali, Saleha Jaffer and Cllr. Janet Baddeley: UPF Community Cohesion Group

The Community Cohesion Group announced events such as a Forgiveness and Reconciliation Festival on October 4th, an event to commemorate ‘Black History Month’ in September and a Holocaust Day event in late January 2010.

Marios Gerogiokas - Report from UPF Environment Chapter

Marios Gerogiokas - Report from UPF Environment Chapter

Dr Marios Gerogiokas announced a series of conferences and discussions with experts to consider the issues surrounding Climate Change negotiations culminating in Copenhagen in December 2009. These include a talk by Dr. Yacob Mulugetta from Surrey University on Understanding Food, Water and the Energy Crisis on July 16th and a talk by Lawrence Bloom on September 3rd evening both at 43 Lancaster Gate.

Marriage and Family Committee Report by Chair Eddie Hartley

Marriage and Family Committee Report by Chair Eddie Hartley

Marriage and Family Committee Chair, Eddie Hartley, highlighted the upcoming conference on the 18th of July,Commitment in Marriage: What the Faith Traditions Offer Modern-Day Britain held together with the Women’s Federation for World Peace.He also reported on the UN International Day of the Family event held on May 15th.

Dr David Earle reporting on UPF activities in Birmingham

Dr David Earle reporting on UPF activities in Birmingham

Birmingham UPF – Dr David Earle explained the progress being made in Birmingham with the local Council in partnership with Women’s Federation for World Peace run locally by his wife, Patricia.

Dr Satwant Multani - Interfaith Youth Hostel Project Inspired by Paul Currie's 1000 Mile Walk

Dr Satwant Multani - Interfaith Youth Hostel Project Inspired by Paul Currie's 1000 Mile Walk

Dr Satwant Multani, the Chair of Central Scotland Interfaith, spoke of the Interfaith Youth Hostel project and the inspiration he had received from Paul Curries 1000 mile walk. He had raised £1000 for the Interfaith Youth Hostel among the members of his Gurdwara. A quick collection from the audience raised a further £180 for the project.

Ambassador for Peace Awards

Ms. Hadia Saad

Ms. Hadia Saad

Mr Mohammed Khokhar

Mr Mohammed Khokhar: Community Liaison Officer / UK Funds Distribution Manager for International Charity Muslim Aid

Karen Szulakowska

Karen Szulakowska

Major(Retired) Suryaparsad Upadhya

Major(Retired) Suryaparsad Upadhya

Posted in Community Cohesion, Evironmental Awareness, Interfaith, Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Mindanao Peace Initiative by Gene Alcantara

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 6, 2009

Mindanao Peace Initiative by Gene Alcantara

Dear Friends and Kababayans

Gene Alcantara

Gene Alcantara

You will know that the conflict in Mindanao continues to cause pain and suffering, dislocation and costs in terms of the economy, loss of human life, increased poverty and destruction of localities. As we have also seen recently the situation allows kidnap-for-ransom activities which create fear and deflect tourism and investment in the region.

I am writing to tell you that a Mindanao Peace Initiative was launched during the Global Peace Festival Mindanao in September 2008. The event was co-sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), the Philippine Government at national and local levels, and non governmental organisations. Enclosed herewith please find the Declaration of the Inauguration of the Mindanao Peace Initiative (MinPI).

In our desire to get involved in the pursuit of peace in Mindanao and help our compatriots there, we have set up a UK Committee to support and seek funding for the MinPI. I hope you will be able to join us and contribute to the peace efforts.

A couple of projects we will be supporting this year are the Lanao Del Norte (LDN) Peace School Model, and the First Mindanao Hiphop Convention to be held in August 2009.

With Service For Peace we are also exploring the possibility of advocating volunteerism and service in LDN and Davao City, as well as implementing micro financing and soft loans for young entrepreneurs and women.

The MinPI UK Committee will be overseen by UPF and its partners, particularly in the Filipino community. Administration and handling of contributions/sponsorships will be provided by International Relief Friendship Foundation, Inc. (IRFF), a UK charity organization [http://www.irff.org/]. Execution on the ground in Mindanao will be the responsibility of Service For Peace [www.serviceforpeace.org] and partner Filipino NGOs.

I would be grateful if you could please forward this to friends and kababayans who might be interested in getting involved or to contribute financial and other help. If anybody wishes to provide any financial help, please go directly to http://www.irff.org/ to do so, specifying your contribution is for the Mindanao Peace Initiative UK.

Meantime if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

With best wishes

Gene Alcantara

Mindanao Peace Initiative,
UK Committee
43 Lancaster Gate,
London W2 3NA

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Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of Three Faiths

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 14, 2009

Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of Three Faiths

14th April, 2009
The Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of the Three Faiths was inspired by a very successful Jewish – Muslim Celebration evening on October 21st 2006 following the 2nd Lebanese war. Yael Lindenboim had suggested that event because the Jewish High Holy Days and Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan occurred at roughly the same time that year. Yael was acknowledged at the start of this evening by Dr Raheem Khan who had been one of the leading members of the Community Cohesion and Interfaith committees organising this event. The evening began with messages from those who had been aware of the evening but could not be there. Canon Andrew White, the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, had prepared a message that was presented by Sharon Booth his Personal Assistant and Project Manager of Foundation for the Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. The Rt. Rev’d. Riah Abu El-Assal, the former Bishop of Jerusalem, also sent a message that was read by Vanessa Edwards.

Each of the three faiths representatives were to present scriptural readings about the holy event in their calendar and to explain both the significance and some of the traditions included in the celebration. There followed also some younger representatives presentations, cultural performances and food from each religious heritage.

Links for Event :   More Photos:
More Videos

Rev. Dr Shadrach Ofosuware PhD FRSA: Easter

Pastor Dr Shadrach Ofosuware PhD FRSA, the Pastor of Freedom Centre International, a multicultural Christian Pentecostal church with an aim to “Raise overcomers and set the captives Free” explained that Easter was a time of renewal as Jesus came to renew humankind by bringing salvation through his sacrifice.

Pastor Shadrach shared that Easter is the celebration of the Passover a time of atonement in which the High Priest makes a sacrifice of the Passover lamb for atonement of sins in the Holy of Holies. That shedding of blood atones for sins. Jesus shed his blood, like the Passover lamb, for our past, present and future sins. Therefore we can treat each other with love and care. Pastor Shadrach concluded ‘the blood of Jesus unites all nations and all people’.

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid JP: Mawlid An-Nabi

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid JP

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid expressed how the birth and life of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) influenced the world. Muslims in various parts of the world celebrate his birth as a perfect human being, in the festival of Mawlid An-Nabi, who came not to start a new faith but to continue the faiths of Judaism and Christianity.

He pointed to the inclusive nature of the constitution of Medina as an example of his worldview. He did not create a constitution just for his followers but for all people of Medina, including those of other faiths, both for security and prosperity.

His character of forgiveness was also exhibited in the conflict with the population of Mecca. During the persecution he did not want to condemn any of the persecutors so that they could have a chance to realise their mistake and come round to support him.

After the victory over Mecca he was asked how he wanted to deal with the population of Mecca. He answered that he would deal with them in the same way that Joseph forgave his brothers for their wrong doing. This action led to an era of peace.

Edwin Shuker: Passover

Edwin Shuker, Passover Seder Traditions

The ‘Joint Celebration of the Three Faiths’ included presentations, music and food from each faith. Because of the oncoming sundown Edwin Shuker, the Vice President of the World Sephardic Council, began the evening with a reading from the Torah and explained the reason for the traditional Passover foods. ‘Passover is a symbol of hope, he said, ‘it is my favourite holiday in the Jewish calendar’ he said.

He felt  that the act of sharing this precious message is holy in itself. ‘When I heard from Dr Khan the inspiration for this event I felt that his passion for the event went way beyond him; from the God that unites us all.’

He explained some of the symbolism in Passover. He said that the removal of the leavened bread, ‘Hametz’, from the house prior to Passover, was an expression of removing the arrogance or pride. The Passover traditions are the longest rituals in the western world having been followed for 3300 years.

Edwin Shuker is also a member of the International Division of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and President of Justice for Jews of Arab Countries.


Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal

Much as I desire to be with you and all taking part in the Three Faith Traditions Celebrations, I am afraid, physically speaking, it is not going to be possible.  However, I want you to know that I will be with you all in the spirit.

I have always advocated co-living not simply co-existence; believing that this will be the only way left for us, humans, to live in peace and harmony in years to come.

Religion was never meant to separate people from people; irrespective of this or that person’s convictions.  Neither was it meant to imprison any and make him/her a slave of this or that tradition.  St. Paul was right when he challenged us to re-examine where we stand as believers when he said: “the letter kills but the spirit gives life.” We are called to bring life even in the midst of death.  How more when we are called to live together, recognize the otherness that is in the other, if we wish the other to recognize the otherness that is in us.  Religion has been used, misused and often abused, not by the outsiders, but those who claim to be the defenders of the faith!!! I am sick of that religion and I call on all who believe in the ONE GOD who created ALL of us to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful mosaic that the Almighty left for us humans to enjoy.  To ignore the other and / or pretend he/she does not exist, does not make him/her cease to be.

Easter reminds us of the love of God who cares for All His Children and want them to be united for what protects His beautiful image in each and everyone.  It is the day when we celebrate the victory of life over death, the victory of faith over doubt, the victory of hope over despair.  In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, I dare say it is in the recognition of the other that I am recognized; in appreciating the other and his otherness that I am appreciated and my otherness; and it is “in giving that we receive.” Easter is also the Passover, when we are called to pass–over barriers and reach out with whatever love God has placed in our hearts to meet the so-called ‘other.’  Only in passing we will realize that we have come to a Brother and to a Sister, not simply another creature. Oh for the day when God in His Mercy will break down all the barriers that separate the Brother in God from the Brother in God, the Sister in God from the Sister in God.  This is the vision that St. John in the Book of Revelation saw and shared with us when the ‘new heaven and the new earth’ come in our midst and the Almighty be the God of All of us.

In closing, I wish to quote Joan Chittister: “Vision is not the ability to predict the future.  Vision is the foresight to create the future.”

God bless you all and know that this comes with my love and my best wishes.’

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal is the former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem

Canon Andrew White

Canon Andrew White

‘Greetings from Baghdad, I am so sorry that I am unable to be with you today especially as my great friend and member of my board Dr Raheem Kahn is behind this event.

Today you come together as members of the three great monotheistic faiths, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Together we have one great thing in common we all believe that G-d is one. We all believe that G-d is part of our life and we believe interfaith activity does not make us weak in our faith it should makes us stronger and indeed more orthodox in what we believe and practice. Unlike many in the West I do not live and work with those who do not believe much. Most people believe firmly in their faith. Yet they are serious about engaging with the other.

At the same time we all realise that when religion goes wrong it goes very wrong. We do not deny that religion is at the core of so many of the problems in the world today, but if religion is part of the problem it must also be part of the solution. The solution begins with you; you have come together as one not two or three. You must hear each other’s story and you will soon discover that you are friends not enemies. It was the American poet Longfellow who said “Who is my enemy; it is the person whose story I have not heard”.

May the Lord, Hashem, Allah and the Almighty G-d be with you all forever.’

Canon Andrew White
Vicar of St Georges, Baghdad
President, Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Invitation letter:

Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA
Tel : 020 7262 0985  Fax : 020 7724 2262
Email: peacefederationuk@gmail.com
Web:  www.uk.upf.org

The UPF Community Cohesion & Interfaith Working Committees would like to invite you to a joint celebration of the holy events of the three faiths on Tuesday April 14th, at 6.30pm at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA.

1)   MAWLID AN-NABI – The birth of the Prophet Mohammed, (peace be upon him) takes place on March 9th in 2009. Charity and food are distributed, and stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry by children. There are also large street processions and homes or mosques are decorated.

2)   PESACH – The season of Passover when Jews commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses begins on April 9th and finishes on April 17th. This is commemorated each year at the ‘Passover Seder’.

3)   EASTER commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most important Christian festival. On Good Friday, Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion. On Easter Sunday Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is celebrated. Easter is a time for families to worship and spend time together.

More information on all these Holy Days at BBC Religion website – www.bbc.co.uk/religion

As you well know these three Holy Days have a deep significance in the lives of the respective faith traditions and many who are less religious also hold these days as a special time in their yearly calendar – a time of togetherness in their families. As the 3 Holy Days are in close proximity, we are fortunate to have this opportunity to be together, to celebrate them all.

The Programme will include:

  1. Short talks about each festival delivered by prominent speakers from each Faith and illustrating the importance of the Holy Days to their faith community.
  2. The foods of the three faiths with particular significance for the celebrated holy events .
  3. Music, Poetry and Cultural Performances from each faith community.

More than anything we will have lovely people from all communities who want to share their Holy Day with others. We will learn from each other and enjoy a high spiritual experience, created by our collective good will. Peace, Harmony and Joy will reign!

Should you wish to contribute (or someone you know) please let us know!!

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Raheem Khan – special consultant to the three faiths celebration
Saleha Jaffer – Joint Chair of CCWG and Community Cohesion/preventing extremism consultant
Margaret Ali – Joint chair of CCWG & Director-UPF UK
Robin Marsh – Secretary General of UPF UK

Other members of the Community Cohesion Committee include
Cllr. Liaquat Ali: former Mayor of London Borough of Waltham Forest
Mrs Ruth Louise Barnett: Holocaust educator
Cllr. Janet Baddeley: Watford Borough Council
Habibah Anwar Bhatti: BME Development and Community Cohesion officer, Hastings  V. A.
Cllr. Mushtaq Lasharie: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea & Chair of 3rd World Solidarity
Brenda Hodgson: Peace activist
Alan Rainer: Interfaith activist & RE teacher
Hilde Rapp: Conflict Resolution & Co – Chair, Centre of International Peacebuilding
Ajit Singh MBE: Interfaith activist
Tim Miller: Chair of Hastings Interfaith Forum
Mathew Huish: Chair of Faithlink (student interfaith group)
Shamsuddin Agha: President of Indian Muslim Federation – UK
Mr Brij-Mohan Gupta: Chair of Hindu Culture and Heritage Society – UK
Cllr. Faizullah Khan: Former Speaker of London Borough of Hackney
Mr Edwin Shuker: Vice President of the World Sephardic of Congress
Cllr. Greta Sohoye: Croydon Council
Cllr. Lurline Champagne: London Borough of Harrow Council
Mr David Sasson: Peace Activist
Amarjeet-Singh Bhamra PhD IHM: Interfaith activist and Ayurveda Consultant

Interfaith Committee members include below:
Dr Ghayassudin Siddiqui
Dr. Christoph Von Luttitz
Mr Sukhbir Singh
Mrs Joyce Suda
Mrs Ruth Barnett
Mr Mathew Huish
Dr Raheem Khan
Mr Martin Moloney

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