8 november 2017

'Believers for Peace' and 'Church and Peace' against Nationalism and Xenophobia

Author: Die Brucke
Source: Die Brucke
Source language: German

'Re: Action - Believers for Peace in Times of Nationalism and Xenophobia' was the subject of a conference held in early April near Zagreb / Croatia with more than 70 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and guests from Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States. Muslims, Christians, including imams and Serbian Orthodox priests, religious and pastors of various denominations attended. Co-organizers of the conference were the European network 'Church and Peace' and the Church and Peace member RAND from Zagreb. The funding was supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baden, the Bremen Foundation, the threshold and renovabis, the solidarity action of German Catholics with the people of Central and Eastern Europe, and the Ecumenical Women's Initiative in Omis, Croatia.

The organizing team consisted of Christians and Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia, who since 2006 have been working tirelessly to reduce religious, ethnic and political tensions under the heading of "Building peace, we praise God". More than 200 people have signed the Declaration of the Believers for Peace since 2013 to combine personal faith and commitment to the practice of nonviolence and social action methods, thereby strengthening the peacebuilding potential of various faiths ,

In the lectures and discussions on social, political and religious conditions and myths leading to growing nationalism and xenophobia, participants agreed that "any justification of nationalism and xenophobia based on faith or religious tradition is deeply wrong unacceptable ", as stated in the final declaration. The intensive exchange about the impressive diversity of peace work in the respective countries as well as the encounters between people from the most diverse backgrounds, which nonetheless unite their trust in God and their commitment to peace, strengthened those present.

Prof. Nerzuk Curak encouraged the participants to see their commitment to peace in a larger historical context: "The seeds that we sow today with our seemingly ever small contributions to peace in the ground will in the future be part of the collective memory of the Company. "

Following conferences in Krk / Croatia in 2006, Blagaj / Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008 and Andrevlje / Serbia in 2010, this was the fourth conference in the region aimed at empowering 'believers for peace' with people of the Abrahamic traditions in Southeastern Europe / Western Balkans, non-violently to build a more peaceful and just society.

"We did not know that the topic would be as up-to-date as we chose for the conference. Unfortunately, the situation is even more tense than it was a year ago, "reports Ana Raffai, a Catholic theologian from Croatia and one of the founders of 'Believers for Peace'.

And she notes: "The media coverage of the conference was great. A newspaper headlined, "There are devout Christians and Muslims who write statements against nationalism and xenophobia." Another: 'Believers can not become fascists'. That's the message for us! "


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