Interfaith leaders play crucial roles in bridging divides and promoting dialogue – Chief Doli-Wura

Chief Dr. Doli-Wura, Chairperson of the Africa Union Interfaith Dialogue Forum Steering Committee (AU-IFDF) has reiterated the pivotal role the play in bridging divides and promoting dialogue in their pursuit of peace and unity.

He said through collaborative efforts, interfaith leaders had made tangible and progressive differences in various areas, including, Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution, Prevention of Electoral Violence, Humanitarian Aid and Development, Environmental Stewardship and Healthcare and Public Health.

Chief Doli-Wura made the remarks when he addressed participants on AFRICA’S 2024 G20 AGENDA, ‘2024 Golden Rule Day: Commemorating World Interfaith Harmony Week: The Role of Interfaith Leaders,’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Over 700 organizations in more than 165 countries gathered to observe the Golden Rule Day, despite the challenges of war, strife, and natural disasters that affect various regions.

Participants at the conference reaffirmed their commitment to treating others as they wish
to be treated, a principle, rooted in the teachings of different faith traditions, that underscores the importance of empathy, compassion, and mutual respect in promoting peace and harmony in every community.

He noted that in a world, increasingly marked by division, conflict, and inequality, the Golden rule served as a beacon of hope and compassion and reminded us of shared humanity and the importance of empathy, kindness, and respect in all our interactions.

‘As we reflect on the significance of the Golden Rule Day, let us draw inspiration from the timeless teachings of our revered religious leaders, whose exemplary deeds continue to guide us towards compassion, generosity, and unity.

‘Jesus Christ, through his selfless act of multiplying bread to feed thousands, demonstrated the boundless power of love and compassion, transcending societal divisions and embracing all in need.

Similarly, the Prophet Mohammed (SAW), in his final sermon at Arafat, emphasized the principles of brotherhood, solidarity, and
justice, urging his followers to treat one another with kindness and respect’.

The AU-IFDF Chairperson said across diverse cultures and traditions, the essence of the Golden Rule resonated, and guided people to live in harmony with one another and with the natural world.

‘In Hinduism, the principle of ahimsa (non-violence) taught people to treat all living beings with kindness and compassion, recognizing the interconnectedness of all life.

‘The teachings of Buddhism also emphasizes the importance of loving-kindness and empathy towards all sentient beings, promoting a sense of interconnectedness and mutual respect and in Sikhism, the concept of seva (selfless service) underscores the importance of serving others with humility and compassion, regardless of caste, creed, or background’.

On Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution: Chief Doli-Wura said Interfaith initiatives had played a crucial role in promoting peace and reconciliation in conflict-affected regions, adding that, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, relig
ious leaders from different faiths united and promoted dialogue and reconciliation among communities torn apart by ethnic and religious strife.

He said religious leaders again played crucial roles in Prevention of Electoral Violence by promoting peaceful elections, saying that, in countries like Guyana and Zimbabwe, interfaith initiatives had helped mitigate electoral violence by promoting codes of conduct emphasizing non-violence and promoting dialogue among political stakeholders.

On Humanitarian Aid and Development: the Chief underscored the importance of Faith-based organizations at the forefront of humanitarian and development work, providing essential services to vulnerable populations around the world.

‘From delivering emergency relief in the aftermath of natural disasters and to implementing long-term development projects, which collective efforts had made a significant impact on the lives of millions’.

He said on Environmental Stewardship: religious leaders and faith communities had a unique role
to play in addressing the urgent challenge of climate change, adding that ‘through education, advocacy, and collective action, we can raise awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship and promote sustainable lifestyles that respect the Earth and its resources.’

Chief Doli-Wura said on Healthcare and Public Health: Faith-based organizations, with their extensive grassroots infrastructure, were instrumental in delivering healthcare services and advocating for preventative measures and that their moral foundations provided a compelling rationale for promoting health and well-being within communities.

‘From providing access to essential medicines and vaccinations to promoting maternal and child health, the efforts have saved countless lives and improved the overall well-being of communities’.

He said: ‘As we celebrate the ‘Golden Rule Day,’ let us reflect on how we can embody this principle in our daily lives; through small acts of kindness, listening with an open heart, or standing in solidari
ty with those in need’.

‘By the tenets of the Golden Rule, let us humbly add our voices to international, regional and state actors calling on our Nation States at War of any form to refrain from violence and reflect on the harm caused by their respective actions and its violation of the Golden Rule adopted by religious faiths that exist all over the globe,’ he added.

The AU-IFDF Chairperson reminded Leaders of the World that, the Golden Rule was important in their dealings with each other; either, trade and commerce, economic, diplomatic and or national security, saying that it represented timeless principles of empathy, kindness and reciprocity that are essential for fostering harmony amongst States and ultimately, her people, and recognizing our diverse socio-eco-cultural backgrounds.

‘I therefore, implore World Leaders to embrace the Golden Rule, which I believe can lead us to more compassionate and just actions towards each other and thereby fostering peaceful existence and the thriving of our inter-l
inked societies, businesses and mutual interests’.

He appealed to the participants to reaffirm their commitment to living the Golden Rule and applying its principles in their roles as interfaith leaders by promoting peace, tolerance, and compassion.

‘As we celebrate the Golden Rule Day, let us remember that we are all interconnected, bound by our shared humanity and our collective responsibility to nurture our planet and promote the common good,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency