Tirana, Albania—Religious leaders attending a UPF webinar gave messages of hope for these unprecedented times.
The program on December 12, 2020, was titled “Religious Leaders: A Source of Hope and Harmony for People in Times of Crisis.”
Organized jointly by the UPF branches of Albania and Kosovo, the meeting of religious leaders was inspired by the online Rally of Hope held in the United States on December 5 to mark the first anniversary of the World Christian Leadership Conference, an organization that is affiliated with UPF.
High-level representatives of different religions in Albania and Kosovo participated:
Haxhi Bujar Spahiu, chairman of the Muslim Community of Albania
Haxhi Dede Edmond Brahimaj, the world leader of the Bektashi Order, Islam
Father Gjergji Gjata, a representative of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, Saranda
Sister Bardhe Gjini, a representative of the Catholic Church
Sheh Hysen Hormova, the head of the Halveti Order, Islam
Imam Rexhep Lushta, the head imam of Mitrovica, Kosovo
The event was moderated by Gani Rroshi, the secretary general of UPF-Albania. Dr. Eva Çipi, the chairwoman of UPF-Albania, gave the opening address, followed by a message of hope from Haxhi Dede Edmond Brahimaj, world leader of the Bektashi Order.
Father Brahimaj said: “It is important that messages of religious leaders be heard and that religious communities be practical in directly helping people in need. Also, Universal Peace Federation has played an important role in this time, and I use this chance to congratulate UPF leaders for their contribution and leadership.”
A short video was shown about the December 5 Rally of Hope. In addition to the messages of different religious leaders at that international online event, the video included part of the message of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, whom many know as the Mother of Peace.
The next speaker was Haxhi Bujar Spahiu, the chairman of the Muslim Community of Albania, who also thanked UPF for organizing the conference and for its efforts worldwide to bring together religious leaders and solve world problems. He said that religious people should always be led by goodness and righteousness and never compromise with evil, no matter how tempting it may be.
Father Gjergji Gjata from the Orthodox Church said: “We are close to the holy days, dear brothers and sisters. Let's welcome these celebrations that come with their joy. My prayer and wish are that, just like we learn from God, we will ‘love each other.’ Let us pray for those who hate us, and for those who love us.”
Sheh Hysen Hormova, the head of the Halveti Order and an active Ambassador for Peace, said: “The words of a clergyman are a spring of hope, because those words come from the holy scriptures. The words that come out of the mouth of a spiritual leader have won the hearts of the believers convincingly. They think, ‘When he talks to us, we can be calm, safe and can win life.’"
Sister Bardhe Gjini from the Catholic Church gave a heartwarming message: “In these times, it is required that we show our closeness and solidarity with each other by doing charity and by praying together. To pray not because prayer will keep away the coronavirus, but because prayer will fraternize us with each other, will bring solidarity and will strengthen our faith in God, which is the most healing medicine of every disease and every pandemic.”
Imam Rexhep Lushta from Kosovo stated: “All the prophets of God have invited into hope the people to whom they preached, because hope is what plants optimism in the hearts of the people. Hence, in this time of pandemic, in these difficult times that the whole globe is going through, we should try to plant hope and optimism in the hearts of the believers and of all people.”
The last speaker was Bujar Topçiu, the chairman for Albania of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development, one of the UPF associations. He thanked all the religious leaders for their contribution and emphasized that UPF will continue to work together with religious and faith leaders to spread peace messages of hope at this time of global crisis.