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The flyer for the event.
Karl-Christian Hausmann, the Chairman of UPF Germany
Adil Ahmad Khalid, Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
Frank Bernhardt, an Old Lutheran theologian
The event which took place at the UPF Centre in Düsseldorf was moderated by Christian Haubold

"What does it take to build a world of peace?" was the topic of an event organized by the Interreligious Discussion Group on 25.11.2023 at the UPF Centre in Düsseldorf. Christian Haubold moderated the meeting with participants on site and online.

The first speaker, Karl-Christian Hausmann, UPF Chairman speaking from Stuttgart, emphasized that the efforts of politics and diplomacy are not enough for world peace. Conflicts must be resolved at the meta-level, beyond power politics and national interests that ignore the spiritual dimension of humanity with God as our common origin. Religions should reflect on their core content, which are 90% the same, and bring people closer to God so that they can lead a life of happiness and joy. If, in the face of crises, religious leaders went hand in hand beyond the boundaries of their own religion and spoke with one voice, they could overcome the social marginalization of religion and identify solutions. Mr. Hausmann explained the four steps to peace advocated by UPF founder Dr. Moon: 1. knowing God and living for the sake of others; 2. families centered on true love; 3. interfaith reconciliation and cooperation; 4. appropriate role of the United Nations and the creation of an Interfaith Council within the UN.

The second speaker, Adil Ahmad Khalid, Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and active in Frankfurt in the Department of Interreligious Dialogue, explained three aspects that the Koran teaches in order to create peace: justice, dialog and selflessness. Acting justly should be the foundation for social and political peace, because tensions and discord arise when leaders assert their personal interests. Through dialog, misunderstandings and reservations are dispelled, because God has created people to find and get to know each other and to build bridges, both in the family and in social life. The family has a high status in Islam, which honors particularly mothers who raise valuable members of society through a close relationship with their children. The third aspect of peacebuilding, selflessness, involves overcoming one's own ego, which requires the greatest effort (literally: "jihad"). In conclusion, Imam Khalid quoted the famous Islamic mystic Rabia Basri, who taught unconditional love for the Creator and for one's fellow human beings, which cannot be motivated by a fear of hell or longing for paradise.

The third speaker, Frank Bernhardt, an Old Lutheran theologian who has been involved in interreligious dialog for many years, provided a theological counterpoint to peace by addressing the issue of "just war". This doctrine which is a tradition of military ethics seeking to ensure that a war is morally justifiable, has been a concern of the church for centuries. In an unredeemed world, the peacemaker is never safe from the violent disruption of peace. States cannot escape this reality and must use military force to defend themselves. Luther made it clear that he who starts a war is in the wrong. The Church's doctrine of just war is geared towards maintaining peace and limiting war. It lays down four principles for this: 1. a just cause; 2. an authorized power that is prepared to wage war (whereby Luther conceded the individual's decision of conscience before God); 3. the will to peace; and 4. moderation. Mr. Bernhardt also spoke about his experiences as a military chaplain and pointed out the ethical dilemma of soldiers and police officers. They should not be maliciously denigrated, as they perform an important service for the preservation of peace. Peace cannot be achieved by declarations alone or by pursuing wishful thinking; we must also stand by the weak. The right of the strongest may create peace, but it certainly does not create a just peace.

In the question and answer session that followed, the speakers commented on the current crisis in the Middle East and the problem of justice, among other things. They reaffirmed the need for the will for peace, proper information and education for peace by conveying a concept of man based on love as a means against hatred. Living according to true religion, which does not seek retribution but reconciliation, can give the world hope. Religious people should not remain silent in the face of crises but should set an example through interreligious dialog and work together to preserve peace.

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