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Humanity first

May 01,2019 - Last updated at May 01,2019

It is obvious that most peoples of the world are confused regarding the place and the importance of religion in life today. For the globalisation of the world in modern times has not brought about a better understanding or appreciation for religious, ethnic or cultural diversity.  On the contrary, as the world seems to shrink further, closeness to each other has not brought about neighborliness bearing witness to the truth of the terrible theme of ‘the clash of civilisations’ expounded by Samuel Huntington.

The so-called ‘dialogue of cultures’ going on for the past few decades has been a failure; merely confined to a few participants meeting sporadically, the findings never reaching either the masses or, indeed, the leaders who can affect public life. A few intellectuals along with some like- minded clergy meet for a few days, at the end of which they issue a publication hardly ever read by anyone other than the participants, most likely not even mentioned by the media.

And after so much violence and such wide-spread waves of hate and extremist ideologies, recently termed ’populism’ in the Western orld, one would think the Vatican, the Azhar, the World Council of Churches or the Council of Judaism would sponsor a call for a summit of world leaders to look into the matter of the place of religion and cultural and ethnic diversity in public life.

A most astonishing phenomenon is that these angry, hate ideologies are not confined to the poor regions of the world, but, most dangerously, are found in the prosperous Western nations of North America, Europe, Australia and even New Zealand. One would imagine that Europe would behave better since it just recently witnessed the barbarity of Nazism and Facism. More astonishing still is the behaviour of the Jews of the world, some now Israelis, who were the major victims of these Western atrocities now adopting a brutal racist, Zionist ideology in their  treatment of the Palestinians, and even welcoming and cooperating with hate mongers like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his likes.

Every time a hate crime is committed, the conscience of the world seems to stir; then, within a short time, it is back to ‘business as usual’, until the next attack. Evidently, it is not enough to punish those murderous sociopaths committing these heinous hate crimes. The whole world needs to look beyond the surface into itself to somehow extinguish the fires of these beastlike basic instincts reminiscent of the ‘call of the wild’ that seems to be present almost everywhere.

What is needed more than the mere punishment of these criminals is a massive, world-wide re-education programme sponsored by the United Nations to embrace the slogan, ‘humanity’ not ‘nationalism ‘ first. The fate of life, every form of life, is at stake, threatened by the present day narrow-minded, even hallucinatory, so-called populist leaders, some of whom, with the push of a button, can end all life.

It has also become obvious, especially over the past century, that even the well-armed, supposedly democratic regimes are not only a danger to themselves but to humanity as well.  The lofty principles of democracy, justice and human rights have not been able to check the erratic and racist instincts of some of their leaders. “Humanity first” has to replace the current slogans of Britain, France or America first.

Unfortunately, Western democracy has fallen victim to its own principles, laying itself wide open to exploitation by media and money, whose ‘marriage’ is responsible for the success of the fierce capitalist system based on Darwin’s principle of the ‘survival of the fittest’, in some instances, allowing for 1 per cent of the population to own and control 99 per cent of the wealth, and opening the way for ‘populist’ leaders, who have proven to be very capable in awakening in their followers the basic instincts of hatred for others.

The papacy, which is the single most important religious leadership in the world, should lead the call for a summit of world leaders to address the question of religion and diversity in public life.

In preparation for the summit of world leaders, the pope, Al Azhar, the Dalai Lama, Hindu, Taoist, Jewish and leaders of other world beliefs and religions, as well as the United Nations, can create a world council of religions, modelled after the Unite Nations Security Council to deal with the important issue of religion in life.

It is hoped that His Majesty King Abdullah, as custodian of Christian and Muslim holy places in Jerusalem and having successfully launched world-wide interfaith initiatives: the “Amman Message”, “A Common Word” and World Interfaith Harmony Week, would be a driving force behind this momentous enterprise.

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