Rastafarians from across the continent joined religious leaders this week to discuss the role of religion in achieving peace throughout the world.
Organisers for the event told zimbabwedigitalnews.com that leaders of Rastafari joined South African youth and religious leaders representing Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, African Hebrew, and Brahma Kumaris in Durban where they discussed the topic: “The role of the religions in achieving peace”.
“This camp was organised by the international Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), which is registered in United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Ecosoc is one of the six principal organs of the UN’s system established by the UN Charter in 1945. It consists of 54 Members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly,” Ann Wan, spokeswoman for the organisers said.
The Rastafari, who command a sizeable following in several African countries, and are recognised for growing dreadlocks and reggae music, participated in the peace conference and spoke about Jah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords under the auspices of the interfaith dialogue meetings called World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office.
“The Religious Youth Peace Camp is a platform to find the cause and solution of the wars and conflicts that occur due to differences in religion and ideology. It is also a place for discussion on the role of the religions in the achievement of peace,” Wan said.
This peace camp in Durban was the first Religious Youth Peace Camp held in the Southern African region. The participants experienced various religious programmes such as presentations on the culture of each religion, and group discussions between religious leaders, youth and Rastafarians.
Nishaat Siddiqi, Shaykh of Ansari Tariqa, shared the opinion about the possibility of collaboration with peacebuilding with different religions and thoughts saying: “People from all walks of life and faith believed in wonders of God and formed one community. It worked before so I believe it(the harmony of all the religions) can work now.”
A volunteer of HWPL said: “South Africa has a multi-religion, multi-ethnic society and as such people respect each other, but there needs to be actual peace work. This camp will have served as a reminder of the importance of the role of religious leaders and youth for peace.”
The Religious Youth Peace Camp, a part of HWPL’s peace initiatives, aims to provide a chance to experience interreligious culture based on mutual respect and open dialogue to the youth around the world.
Starting with Cambodia this April, it has been held in several countries including India, Lithuania, Myanmar, and the Netherlands.
Peace Tree Virtue Activity by the Hindu Mahasabha at the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) in Durban.
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