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UPF-Munich Observes International Day of Peace


Munich, Germany—Seventeen representatives of five religious groups attended a UPF prayer breakfast, which this month was dedicated to the UN International Day of Peace. The event was held at the UPF-Munich offices on September 23, 2023.


The motto that the UN gave to this year’s International Day of Peace is “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the Global #Goals.” Because UPF, as an NGO, has general advisory status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), UPF-Munich felt very motivated to actively support the UN's efforts for peace again this year.


To this end, we invited representatives of various religious communities to an interreligious exchange. This time there were a particularly large number of women represented. Peace among religious communities can be a strong guarantor and promoter of peace in other areas of society.


The keynote speech was given by the imam of the mosque in Munich-Freimann, Mohamed Ibrahim, a scholar at the Islamic Center in Munich. He began by talking about the name “Islam,” which means peace. In three Suras of the Koran, he explained, one can find a strong source of peace.


Next, the Roman Catholic theologian and trauma therapist Gottfried Hutter talked about his personal journey toward an interreligious identity. He also discussed his commitment to peace in the Middle East and presented his book Honorable Peace, which is about reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.


Between the presentations there was always rich exchange. Additional short, valuable speeches on the theme of peace with God and peace among people were given by representatives of the Church of Scientology and the Turkish-Muslim M.I.H.R. Foundation.


At the end, the moderator of the meeting, Robert Bentele from UPF-Munich, gave a short presentation about one of the goals of UPF: the value of marriage and family. This would be the most sustainable “Action for Peace” in society and the world, he explained. The family is the school of love. It is a small world, and that is where love and unity must begin.


Each of the participants then placed a rose in a vase to create a symbolic “peace bouquet.” At the end, they expressed the desire to meet again and to stay in close contact with each other.


By Robert Bentele, Secretary General, UPF-Munich
September 23, 2023

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