Oslo, Norway – The significant role that religion plays in today’s world, and the need for interreligious cooperation, were key themes at a conference on Interreligious Cooperation for Peace and Human Rights held in Oslo on October 31, 2023. The event, organized by the Universal Peace Federation in partnership with the Foundation Dialogue for Peace, was held in the stately atmosphere of the House of Literature.
On behalf of the organizers, Aamir Sheikh of FDP and Steinar Murud of UPF welcomed the audience of more than 50 participants, representing a spectrum of religious backgrounds.
Former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, who is an ordained Lutheran minister, shared his views on religion as a source of peace. Arshad Jamil, deputy leader of the Muslim Dialogue Network in Norway, spoke on the importance of open dialogue among faith communities. Einar Tjelle, director of international and ecumenical relations for the Church of Norway, commented on the current international situation, and the need to be balanced and avoid polarization.
The ambassador of Pakistan to Norway, Saadia Altaf Qazi’sv, spoke on religious tensions in Pakistan and the government’s response to the tragic attacks on churches in September. Mushaal Hussain Mullick, special advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on human rights and women’s empowerment, explained the serious and complex state of affairs in Kashmir.
The final words from Ms. Mullick, that by connecting to the spiritual core of our faiths we can come closer to the ideal of peace, served as an appropriate conclusion for the conference.