Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon is truly a global peacemaker of our time. In today’s world, nearly all conflicts arise from some form of religious or ethnic tension. Such conflict situations are seriously aggravated by the wholesale abandonment of that set of "good old moral values" which have stood us in such good stead in the past. These values largely emanated from the Holy Scriptures: guiding principles that originate from the one and only God of all human beings. God’s primary concern is for all of us to have a happy and satisfying life here in this world, and to prepare us for an everlasting life thereafter. We, of course, have to go through the Day of Judgment.
In a recent speech, delivered at the Peace Palace in Cheong Pyeong, South Korea, Rev. Moon addressed the subject of God’s concern for human beings and the importance of preparing for eternal life. Rev. Moon is a great Christian leader. However, what I found to be most significant about his speech was that I, as a Muslim, could find myself agreeing with everything that he was saying. There were several major points of agreement between his thinking and mine that made a great impression upon me. foremost among these ideas is the assertion that peace in the world is fundamentally dependent on establishing good understanding and mutual respect among the world’s religions.
Rev. Moon’s success in bringing representatives of the world’s religions together on the same platform is quite exceptional. To reach this point, he has gone through so much physical and mental torture, even being incarcerated for a total of six times by the governments of North Korea, South Korea, Japan and even the United States. Coming to know the history of his life, one can understand his passionate feelings against all wars, the killing of innocents, poverty, deprivation and disease. Furthermore, we can come to see why he has such deep concerns about family values, the institution of marriage and the proper raising of children.
When one comes to understand the heart and passion of this man and his extraordinary success in bringing diverse people together for the sake of humanity, it is incomprehensible that for eleven years a ban was imposed on this peacemaker’s entry into the United Kingdom. This unjust ban was finally lifted in 2005. As part of the ultimately successful campaign for justice, I was more than happy to add my name to a letter that through its broad range of signatories quietly and eloquently testified to the support that Rev. Moon enjoys across the full spectrum of faith leaders in Britain.
Government officials know that such support is not easily won; interreligious cooperation is indeed a powerful force for peace and justice in this world, as this action attested. I am heartened to learn that a recent Supreme Court ruling in Germany has opened the way for the overturning of a similar ban that has been operating in the Schengen group of nations—bound by a treaty that was never intended to restrict the free movement of genuine religious leaders and peacemakers. Without the interreligious cooperation that Rev. Moon promotes and facilitates, injustices born of ignorance and prejudice can sadly persist, even in the democracies of which we are rightfully proud.
A very practical way in which this interreligious force for peace and justice is developing is through Rev. Moon’s Ambassador for Peace initiative. I would rate it as an outstanding achievement of the greatest significance. Through this initiative, "peace councils" have already been established in almost every country; Ambassadors for Peace will be responsible for setting up and running these councils at local, regional and national levels.
Their basic function will be to maintain peace by having representatives of different communities meet together regularly and cooperate at all levels. In a wise move that will utilize the wisdom, experience and influence of the world’s religious leaders, the setting up of an International Peace Council as an "upper house" to the United Nations will stand at the apex of this worldwide network of peacemakers, and is a proposal that I stand behind 100%
The establishment of this infrastructure for peacekeeping, from the grass-roots to the highest of diplomatic levels, will undoubtedly come to be recognized for the extraordinary achievement that it is. This represents the culmination of decades of work that Rev. Moon has initiated and guided with the goal of world peace in mind.
One of his greatest areas of concern has been the Middle East. Political initiatives alone, that do not tackle the need for interreligious understanding and cooperation, will never succeed—but who else is able to bridge these divides and has the track record in this area that can be respected by all sides? All of us owe something to Rev. Moon. Despite so many noble efforts, still large numbers of innocent men, women and children are losing their lives in this intractable conflict. To deliver peace in the Middle East will surely give him a much-deserved sense of achievement and pride. With this objective in mind we continue to strive for peace in the Middle East, supporting his initiatives by upholding and implementing the following manifesto:
1. All wars are unacceptable. 2. The principle of immediate cease fire must be observed or imposed. 3. International forces deployed should be under UN command. 4. Combatants must sit round the table with the UN and resolve the dispute based on principles of justice, human rights and fair play. 5. The Universal Peace Council should start liaising with the incoming UN Secretary General (himself, interestingly, from South Korea) and start working for the above principles.
Other areas of the world where Ambassadors for Peace are striving for peace and reconciliation include the divided Korean peninsula (in urgent need of peaceful re-unification), the Balkans (chosen as the focal point of a new European Peace Initiative) and the Kashmir dispute. The Universal Peace Federation and its associated organizations are also active in working for the relief of poverty and the effects of AIDS in Africa.
Rightly, in my opinion, education is at the forefront of the Universal Peace Federation’s work. I have participated in many excellent seminars and symposia where the importance of a happy family life is taught and discussed. As Ambassadors for Peace, we are trying hard to restore the real value of the institution of marriage, encouraging sexual abstinence among young people until they can enter into one life-time partnership with the right person. To secure the future, we need to promote the principles of true love and respect for one another that Rev. Moon teaches. He rightly and unashamedly addresses the key issue of sex and sexual morality in a way that is in complete accord with the principles of Islam.
Through working with other Ambassadors for Peace, I have learned to have a greater love for others. There is an extraordinary bond between us and an energy that arises when such a diverse group of people are resolved to live and work for the sake of others. In conclusion, I strongly support a brilliant idea put forward by Sir James R. Mancham, the Founding President of the Republic of Seychelles and Chair of the Global Peace Council of the Universal Peace Federation. He suggested, at the International Peace Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, that we should devote the whole of 2007 to redoubling our efforts to achieve something concrete. I suggest we work towards lasting peace in the Middle East and in the Balkans.