urgent action needed against caricaturing of muslims says churches leader - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
July 2, 2004

Urgent action needed against caricaturing of Muslims says churches leader

-2/7/04

Urgent action is required against "growing xenophobia", the caricaturing of Muslims as the enemy and the "blatant misuse" of religion as the mobilization of war, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has said.

Speaking at the Evangelical Church in Germany's annual St Johnís reception, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia also expressed his appreciation for the pioneering work done on such issues in the context of globalization, by the German parliament. This work has "revealed the asymmetrical nature of our world today," Kobia said.

Germany could lead efforts to achieve the "global ideals" of "peace, justice and ecological protection" said the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) at the reception attended by prominent German political, civic and church leaders in Berlin.

Highlighting the active engagement of German churches in the ecumenical search for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, Kobia affirmed his hope that Germany "will develop strong impulses for just peace in the conflict-torn regions, for sustainable use of resources and renewable energies, and for reconciliation of wounded memories and enmity."

Calling it "an affront to the ecumenical vision of a united humanity", Kobia stated that "the process of globalization driven by the neo-liberal economic paradigm has created a global inequality and inequity" in which 20% of the world's population owns 83% of the global resources. "Our challenge today is to search for alternatives" to a world "of increasing inequality and violence" and "to nurture an economy that works in the service of life and does not contribute to its destruction," he stressed.

The WCC general secretary also highlighted the need for "inter-religious dialogue and co-operation" in the face of "growing xenophobia", including "an evolving enemy-image that makes a caricature of our Muslim friends", and the "blatant misuse of religion in the mobilization of war". It is urgent, he said, "to nurture non-violent action for change and to work for peace and reconciliation" against the backdrop of "justification for war and even brutal torture" that harms the humanness of both the victims and the perpetrators.

Kobia attended the St John's reception during a visit to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) - his first as WCC general secretary to member churches in Europe. The visit, he said, signified the "strong relationship between WCC and German churches," and his intention to deepen that partnership.

Before the reception, Kobia met with the president of the EKD Council Bishop Dr Wolfgang Huber and other senior representatives of the church. The newly elected German president Horst Koehler was also present at the reception.

Urgent action needed against caricaturing of Muslims says churches leader

-2/7/04

Urgent action is required against "growing xenophobia", the caricaturing of Muslims as the enemy and the "blatant misuse" of religion as the mobilization of war, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has said.

Speaking at the Evangelical Church in Germany's annual St Johnís reception, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia also expressed his appreciation for the pioneering work done on such issues in the context of globalization, by the German parliament. This work has "revealed the asymmetrical nature of our world today," Kobia said.

Germany could lead efforts to achieve the "global ideals" of "peace, justice and ecological protection" said the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) at the reception attended by prominent German political, civic and church leaders in Berlin.

Highlighting the active engagement of German churches in the ecumenical search for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, Kobia affirmed his hope that Germany "will develop strong impulses for just peace in the conflict-torn regions, for sustainable use of resources and renewable energies, and for reconciliation of wounded memories and enmity."

Calling it "an affront to the ecumenical vision of a united humanity", Kobia stated that "the process of globalization driven by the neo-liberal economic paradigm has created a global inequality and inequity" in which 20% of the world's population owns 83% of the global resources. "Our challenge today is to search for alternatives" to a world "of increasing inequality and violence" and "to nurture an economy that works in the service of life and does not contribute to its destruction," he stressed.

The WCC general secretary also highlighted the need for "inter-religious dialogue and co-operation" in the face of "growing xenophobia", including "an evolving enemy-image that makes a caricature of our Muslim friends", and the "blatant misuse of religion in the mobilization of war". It is urgent, he said, "to nurture non-violent action for change and to work for peace and reconciliation" against the backdrop of "justification for war and even brutal torture" that harms the humanness of both the victims and the perpetrators.

Kobia attended the St John's reception during a visit to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) - his first as WCC general secretary to member churches in Europe. The visit, he said, signified the "strong relationship between WCC and German churches," and his intention to deepen that partnership.

Before the reception, Kobia met with the president of the EKD Council Bishop Dr Wolfgang Huber and other senior representatives of the church. The newly elected German president Horst Koehler was also present at the reception.

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