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Interfaith & peace groups urged to embrace solution oriented initiatives
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Friday, 19 July 2002
Marc Gopin, Visiting Associate Professor of International Diplomacy and Senior Researcher at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and Visiting Scholar at the Program on Negotiation, Harvard University, summarized the
new War Against Terrorism in the following excerpt from the paper "This War is About
Religion, and Cannot be Won Without it:"

"The sooner we face facts, the more powerful our chances to succeed in making religious terrorism a temporary phenomenon of human culture. But we cannot do this if we hide our heads in the sand. Politically incorrect or
not, this war is about religion. In case anyone thinks that it is not about religion then they should take a good hard look at the document written by the terrorist mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, Mohammed Ata,
in order to help his soldiers prepare for their sanctified deaths. It is one of the most profound religious documents I have ever seen, and its
preparation for a beautiful death and afterlife is so compelling that I almost forgot, as I read it transfixed, that it was really about mass
murder. I felt tempted to join the journey myself. If I felt tempted as a non-Muslim, how much more tempting to tens of millions of alienated young Muslim men in search of
significant lives and meaningful deaths. This death wish is a careful weaving of purification rituals to be accepted into Paradise, including
asking God for forgiveness of sins! Mass murder is, of course, not one of the sins in this unique reading of Islam. It is, on the contrary, a supreme
religious act of struggle with the forces of evil. But the atrocity is not even mentioned by name. It is simply the struggle with evil. In fact, it is
overshadowed in the letter by the holy rituals of death preparations, as if a meditative concentration on Paradise is at the core of every act leading to the end, rather than revenge or murder."

Silence in regards to the causative factors of aggression combined with threats and counter aggression, but perpetuate the cycle of violence.
Temporary fixes, overlook the solution oriented initiatives needed for democracy, religious tolerance, human rights, womens rights and the
pursuit of peace and social justice.

As Gopin emphasized, "Technology and intolerant religious power create a chemistry that human civilization cannot survive." Therefore we call all
faith groups, non governmental, intergovernmental and diplomatic representatives in every United Nations member country to embrace a solution oriented strategic focus during this time of relative calm, a
scenario that will rapidly change in a crisis responsive environment following a nuclear, biological or chemical attack on United States or
international community.

In the context of this appeal we continue to request the review and support of the International Interfaith Peace Declaration. On the web:
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