January 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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Waiting for the Next War in Sri Lanka?
Bruce Van Voorhis
Interviews during a visit to Batticaloa at the end of October last year during Interfaith Cooperation Forum’s (ICF) School of Peace (SOP) in Sri Lanka raised as many questions about the country’s future as it provided a deeper understanding about its violent past. [Read more]

New Publication: Our Stories, Our Challenges: The Search for JustPeace in Asia Today
Center for JustPeace in Asia and Interfaith Cooperation Forum

Through 64 stories as well as poems, cartoons, artwork and songs, this book seeks to share the lives and experiences, the insights and wisdom, of individuals and communities living daily with violent conflict, of people emerging from the suffering of war and facing new challenges as they strive to rebuild their lives and, lastly, of those who have visions for justpeace and the transformation that can occur when peace rooted in justice becomes a part of life in society. These stories are based on the realities of life from various corners of Asia—Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. This collection is the first joint publishing effort of the Center for JustPeace in Asia (CJPA) and Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF), two regional networks of people dedicated to realizing justpeace in Asia’s communities. The book is available online at http://daga.dhs.org/daga/press/pdf/our_stories_our_challenges.pdf.

More to Religious (In)Tolerance in Indonesia than Meets the Eye
The author makes the point that, although news stories frequently report on acts of religious intolerance in the country, especially in the Western media, Indonesians generally respect the rights of people to freely practice the faith of their choice in the country. [Read more]

  A Vote for Sanity in Egypt—A Lesson for Pakistan
Asian Human Rights Commission
The year 2011 in the Egyptian city of Alexandria began violently when a bomb exploded outside a Coptic Christian church shortly after midnight on Jan. 1 killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens of others. In response, Egypt’s Muslim community encircled churches on Jan. 6—Christmas Eve for Coptics—to shield them from further violence. It is this expression of interfaith concern and solidarity that is encouraged in Pakistan in this article in the wake of the assassination of a governor who publicly opposed the country’s blasphemy law. [Read more]

A Human Approach to World Peace
Dalai Lama
The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists in this essay shares an interfaith path to responding to the problems of the world by reviving the humanitarian values of all faiths and by developing a sense of universal responsibility for others as “all others’ desires are the same as mine.”
“If we adopt a self-centered approach to life and constantly try to use others for our own self-interest,” explains the Dalai Lama, “we may gain temporary benefits; but in the long run, we will not succeed in achieving even personal happiness, and world peace will be completely out of the question.”
Please read the entire essay online at <http://www.readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/57-57/4381-a-human-approach-to-world-peace>.

Turn Yourself a Meaning in 2011
Goldy M. George
A Dalit activist in India poetically shares his reflections on the past year and hopes for the year we have just entered. [Read more]