December 21, 2003 - Peoria Journal Star: Tunisia RPCV Wayne Nowlan says to expand understanding of different religions

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tunisia: Peace Corps Tunisia : The Peace Corps in Tunisia: December 21, 2003 - Peoria Journal Star: Tunisia RPCV Wayne Nowlan says to expand understanding of different religions

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Tunisia RPCV Wayne Nowlan says to expand understanding of different religions

Tunisia RPCV Wayne Nowlan says to expand understanding of different religions

Expand understanding of different religions

Dec 21, 2003 -

Peoria Journal Star

Is it possible that there is more to the conflict between Western society and the Muslim world than political difference? Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God, but in different ways. We all share Old Testament traditions. Through the New Testament, Christians are given the charges of love and forgiveness dictated by the teachings of Jesus Christ. With these traditions in mind, I challenge all Christian leaders to take the initiative in the reconciliation among our three religions.

Muslims are understandably suspicious of Christians, dating back to the Crusades of the Middle Ages when entire Muslim cities were destroyed by the invading Christian armies of the Holy Roman Empire. And after the atrocities committed by the Nazis in World War II, territories owned and occupied by native Palestinians were given to Zionist settlers to create the state of Israel by the United Nations, without compensation to the property owners. In the late '60s, surrounding Muslim states suffered a humiliating defeat by Israel, in which they lost significantly more land. The long-term distrust of Christians and Jews by Muslims is justified, in my opinion.

As a former Peace Corps volunteer who lived in the north African Muslim country of Tunisia for two years, I can understand both sides of this very sad history. I see the mistrust and hatred as a failure of the religious leaders of our three God-centered religions to understand, appreciate and accept one another. I implore the leadership of the Vatican, the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches, the World Council of Churches, progressive Jewish leaders and all moderate Muslim clerics to organize a World Council of Religious Leaders to spend a minimum of one week together to work on expanding their understanding and appreciation of each other and their respective religious beliefs.

Since the Vatican has hosted similar conclaves in the past, I suggest that the World Council of Religious Leaders meet in Rome. In my opinion, the spiritual leaders of our three religions for the most part are led by people of good will. When put to the test, they could have a significant effect in counteracting the radical fringes of our respective religions that preach hatred and violence over love, understanding and forgiveness.

If Western society is to resolve its significant problems in the Middle East and in other areas of the world where large populations of Muslims live, Christians and Jewish religious organizations must engage Muslims in developing comprehensive, long-term solutions well beyond what our military and political leaders can accomplish.

Wayne Nowlan


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Story Source: Peoria Journal Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tunisia; Religon



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