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Speeches

M.A. Elahi: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020

 

Let’s say a silent prayer for the victims of the coronavirus everywhere in the world, and in solidarity with the suffering cities in China!

It’s an honor to be part of the 2020 Summit of World Religions in Seoul! My first journey to America marked my first participation in AWR (Assembly of the World’s Religions), traveling from Tehran to Istanbul to Frankfurt to San Francisco! Five hundred distinguished world leaders and interfaith activists met from August 15-21, 1990 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Today 30 years later we have 5,000 guests here in Seoul to share their wisdom and discuss the vision of a global peace in a world that, based on the 2020 report of BAS (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists), has entered into a realm of 100 seconds to the disastrous doomsday of self-destruction because of the threat of atomic bombs, the climate crisis and cyber-attacks!

As I observe this Seoul Summit, I see the same vision and diversity I saw 30 years ago in the San Francisco summit!

I listened to Rev. Moon, the founder of UPF (Universal Peace Federation), in that world conference, asking why God created us? Did He create us for money or power? No. He created us for love! Divine love, family love and love of neighbors!

Later as I was walking with the late Dr. Ahmad Kuftaro, then the mufti of Syria, I told him what Imam Jafar al-Sadeq said: What is religion except love? Really, what is faith without love, sacrifice, compassion, hope, humbleness, prayer and charity?

At that time, on my way to San Francisco on board Lufthansa I was reflecting on the intention of my hosts. Why did they invite me, paying my trip expenses from A to Z and bring me to this amazing assembly?

By the way, that trip was like a miracle. Years later I realized it was meant to be by my Lord. I was on a mission, without knowing it! I was thinking: do they want to convert me, impose a political agenda? Debate, argue, judge or blame my spiritual belief system? No!

The purpose was how can we work together to make a better world, a world of peace!

Wow! How can we honor one of the best names of Allah, Peace! Recognizing the international Islamic salutation of Salaam!

How can we bring peace in a world suffering from war, violence, crime, corruption, confusion, pain, poverty, extremism, terrorism, intolerance, misunderstanding, misconception, deception, dishonesty?

The first step is dialogue! People of wisdom and dignity coming from all over the world to share ideas for world peace!

This is one of the main messages of the Quran!
1. تعالوا
O people of faith, join a journey of interfaith to recognize the central truth in this universe!
2. لتعارفوا
Through this dialogue we start knowing one another
3. بالتي هي احسن
Have this conversation with maximum beauty, courtesy, respect and wisdom
4. تعاونوا
The goal is to cooperate for what is good for humanity
5. فاستبقوا الخيرات
It’s about competition for compassion, and acts of kindness!
6. أصلحوا
It’s about making reconciliation, forgiveness, friendship and being one family of humanity!
7. It’s about protection of places of prayer (the story of temple of rays in India)
8. It’s about building bridges of brotherhood, understanding, good relationships for the sake of peaceful coexistence!

What are the obstacles to peace that must be rejected? We must reject oppression, discrimination, racism, greed, ignorance, ego and ignorance! These are poisonous for peace! At the same time we must adopt a language of love, respect, tolerance, patience, modesty and humility!

And, last but not the least, until there is order bringing about a peaceful coexistence, we must stand for justice! Justice in our expressions, actions, judgements, even if justice hurts ourselves and helps our enemies!

If there was such a dialogue, human history wouldn’t have suffered the 200 years of bloody and brutal Crusades, war in the Holy Land, the First and Second World Wars, the Vietnam War, the war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Syria, and the Arab-Israeli conflict!

I hope our leaders learn from those deadly and destructive wars, stop warmongering and choose the blessing of being ambassadors of peace, ambassadors of justice.
We can’t establish true peace if we don’t establish justice!

Remember the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” And his other memorable words: “We must learn to live together as brothers, or we are going to perish together as fools.”

 

 


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