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July 21 2017 | ROME, ITALY

Opening 'Paths of Peace' in a world marked by too many conflicts: the International meeting of world religions for peace

Marco Impagliazzo: 'It will be the most important event for peace of the year, a strong message against wars, divisions and walls, in order to restore a soul to countries and continents in crisis'

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"There are wars that last for too long, such as those in Syria and Iraq. But also low-intensity conflicts, many in Africa and elsewhere, terrorism and the widespread violence as in different countries in Latin America. We need to send a strong message to the world. We will do it from the heart of a Europe that, even in a crisis of solidarity, must find its foundation in building peace". The President of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo, said these words to introduce "Paths of Peace", the international meeting in the "Spirit of Assisi", which will take place from 10 to 12 September in the German cities of Münster and Osnabrück.

Impagliazzo said that the meeting will be the "first major international peace event of 2017", in a world increasingly marked by conflicts. He said: "Peace is a topic that needs to be re-launched, even at the more popular level". In addition to the presence of hundreds of prominent representatives of religions (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and other Asian religions), institutional and cultural authorities, there will be also a large popular participation in Germany with many young people from all over Europe, supporting of the meeting that is organized every year by the Community of Sant'Egidio, after the historic day of Prayer for Peace of Assisi, promoted by St. John Paul II in 1986.

"Religions - said Impagliazzo - increase passions and emotions and can also be manipulated. But if we turn them to peace and dialogue, they return a soul to countries and continents that are in crisis and divided. Religions, if properly interpreted, are the opposite of racism, because they do not focus on ethnic or race, and they are the opposite of classism, because they strive for equality, as well as they promote the unity of mankind. Religions are also useful to re-understand globalization, to look at the changes that are taking place in our societies".

Among the authorities who will join the event there are the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Great Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Tayyeb (the highest authority of Sunni Islam, who recently welcomed Pope Francis in Cairo), the President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou (Chief of a country where the large stream of migrants flows, strategic for the fight to terrorism). There will also be Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East (from Damascus), the Director of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Moshe Dagan; Cardinal Ernest Simoni from Albania; Father José Alejandro Solalinde from Mexico, Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga (Central African Republic), Chief Rabbi of Turkey Isak Haleve, the representative of the Rohingya from Burma Al-Haj U Aye Lwin, Reverend Munib Younan, President of the World Lutheran Federation; Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan and Sultan Al Hajji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III from Nigeria, the Great Imam of Lahore Mosque (Pakistan) Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad, and several representatives of Asian religions.

Non-violence, disarmament, migration, right to health, corruption and social justice are some of the topics that will be discussed during the many roundtables that are scheduled. There will be also a focus on some countries such as Syria, Iraq and Tunisia with the intervention of some witnesses.


Paths of Peace, Münster-Osnabrück 2017: INFO PROGRAMME AND CONTACTS


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