Universal Peace Federation meeting on importance of interfaith activities

On the 27th July Soteria International was invited to speak at the Universal Peace Federation interfaith prayer meeting in Copenhagen on the topic of “Most important three points for interfaith activity”. Soteria International encourages the many growing interfaith activities that we consider a cornerstone in securing the freedom of conscience and belief, as outlined in the speech as follows:

“Thank you Mr. Igarashi and Universal Peace Federation for inviting Soteria International to this well arranged interfaith meeting to speak on the important issue of interfaith activities.

Soteria International is engaged when human rights are breached due the individual practice of faith or belief.

What groups that are targeted by discrimination and persecution are seemingly arbitrary, having in common only not to be mainstream or normative in the society where discriminated. The Lutheran protestant church is state church here in Denmark while considered a sect in Russia, while Russian Orthodoxy has a tough time in many other countries.

Discrimination due to religious and spiritual practice is a continuous human rights issue. Groups are alienated and many times caught in a vicious circle: protecting oneself from a hostile society by closing the contacts, which propels the marginalization further and fuels new mistrust and possibly accusations, leading the groups to build higher walls or deeper trenches in a hopeless war.

This leads to a very important point of interfaith activities; to deepen and secure connections between different groups in society. Acting together acknowledge the fundamental freedom of conscience and belief as such, builds strong bridges to society and hinders marginalization of the groups that are arbitrarily discriminated in that specific society. It is of paramount importance to act and stand together for the protection of the freedom of conscience and belief.

Another important point of interfaith activities could be called the “sect lacmus test”; authentic spiritual practitioners are generally interested in meeting with other groups of faith or belief, while charlatans and criminals avoid any contact with others. Science was not performed openly during the medieval times, to avoid persecutions and the destiny of Giordano Bruno and other searches who spoke of a more profound understanding of reality, that nature was based on hidden laws that could be studied and understood. Today religious and spiritual searchers often do not discuss their results openly, fearing to be ridiculed or even persecuted. The obscurity leaves room for charlatans that in the guise of spirituality or religion act according to hidden agendas. Interfaith activities bring light and transparency into the field, leaving no place to hide for those without authentic aspirations and results.

Another important point of interfaith activity is to hinder the spiritual and religious aspect of life to be hijacked by political and financial motifs. Many times political or financial conflicts of interest are projected onto religion in order to instigate hatred or mistrust between different groups or nations. By playing on public sentiment decision makers can carry out agendas that could not be ideologically motivated, by letting them slide down to identity questions.

Through history we can recognize this in the crusades of middle ages, but vigilant observers may well find the same projections in contemporary armed conflicts throughout the world today.

The previous speaker Zoraiz spoke about the characteristics of the Mu’min, the believer in Islam, that he or she has results inside the being, hindering him or her to act in violence and hatred. Later Anna Christine Christensen from Initiatives of Change reminded us that we are all the children of God. Interfaith activities are of paramount importance to hinder the ongoing abuse of peoples’ religious and spiritual identity to incite conflict between nations or groups in order to carry out hidden political or financial agendas.

Thank you very much.”