Peace to religions PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 December 2014 11:33

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

I was browsing through a 2002 woman’s magazine which I was looking at for the first time. Among the various articles on women’s fashion and beauty products was an article titled  “Religion Refresher” which gave brief  paragraphs for each of the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The lead for the article was “Prior to September 11th, American citizens were living in a period of relative ease. Religious identity had never seemed to be an issue. “  But things changed for the Americans after  the attack on the World Trade Center which was followed by the war in Afghanistan and then in Iraq.

“Others see it [the 9/11 attack in NY) as the inception of a holy war, where one religious ideology fights another and believers become  soldiers, killing and dying for their god.”  Bin Laden became the face of the Islamic ideologues.

Thirteen years after 9/11  things have not become better in the world as far as religious ideologies are concerned. In addition to the Taliban and al Qaeda we  now have Al Shabab and Boko Haram and the latest , ISIS.

The violence has not toned down either and everyday the morning news bars carry the latest: more than 200 school girls abducted; 48 killed in a bus attack; 21 killed in a car bomb attack on a police outpost; video feed of the execution of  Westerners by the ISIS; 5 killed in an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Israel. And so forth and so on.

Of course the killings have not been carried out solely by Islamic jihadists. Most unexpected for me have been the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims by Buddhist activists. Surprising for me because the Buddhists have been etched in my mind as people who promote peace within one’s self  and with creation  in meditations.

Some people may identify the NATO forces  which fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and now are fighting with the ISIS as being Christian soldiers. This is not to say that this perception is  correct but then it does lead to the thinking that these Christian soldiers are killing the mainly Muslim citizens of these countries.  However, it is quite clear that the NATO forces have never claimed to be fighting for their religion. For oil perhaps. For political control perhaps. But never for religion.

It is worth considering that while we say  “religion is supposed to promote love and peace” we have to admit that the present circumstances of the world are such that  religion is  the reason for much of the violence we  see in the world today.

We ask people of goodwill in all religions to pray for peace. We should make sure that the prayer also includes peace to religions.