Islam and the Establishment of World Peace
True Father’s Address (read on Father’s behalf) at a meeting of Islamic leaders at the Council for the World’s Religions, held on October 21, 1990 in Cairo, Egypt.
Father’s words are still relevant to the current situation in the Middle East.
Honorable religious leaders, esteemed scholars and beloved guests:
Thank you for your participation in this most urgent summit. By responding at such short notice to this call for peace, your presence here surely brings great joy to God.
God is the origin of peace
Of course you know that we are surrounded by tensions of frightening proportions. Political and economic rivalries and historical resentments have flourished so abundantly that even those who see only with earthly eyes recognize that our very survival is threatened. In the face of annihilation, human beings, like all created species, respond with emergency measures. This is why we now see such frantic activity in all spheres of human enterprise. In the effort to prevent unspeakable tragedy, leaders desperately propose solutions according to their particular orientation. Some seek military solutions, others political or economic. While such actions may somehow contribute to the establishment of peace, they can never generate the primary insights and analysis upon which lasting peace can be founded.
Only truly religious and spiritual people understand the nature and origin of conflict. And only those who know the actual origins of disorder can bring about a solution. This is why, in this time of great emergency, I have requested your presence and participation. Of course, peace on earth will ultimately require insights from all spheres of human enterprise—politics, media and so on. However, the root of peace is in God, and it can only come to this world through those who conform their lives to His perfect Will.
Realizing that world peace ultimately depends on the human response to the divine Will, I founded the International Religious Foundation. From the earliest days of the Unification movement I always devoted the greatest portion of our resources to serving other religions. In the 1950s many Unificationist families did not have enough to eat, and members complained to me about the funds I devoted to the cause of interreligious harmony. I suffered to see their hardships and begged for their patience because I knew Satan would ultimately resort to racial and religious war in his effort to destroy humankind’s future. For forty years I poured everything into this effort, always insisting upon true love, harmony and cooperation among all religious believers. Now these great saints and peacemakers in the International Religious Foundation, from every major religion, have the divine mission to thwart Satan’s plan and pioneer a future of lasting peace.
As you know, Satan always seeks to bring the greatest destruction and darkness upon the human race. Throughout this century his plan was perpetuated through the God-denying totalitarianism of communism. Through state oppression and torture, entire generations were forbidden to hear the truth of God’s Word. Countless millions were slaughtered in the name of building a society without God. This treacherous, satanic instrument flourished for seventy years, coming to occupy two-thirds of the world. Political analysts have yet to explain how this empire collapsed overnight. The spiritually astute, however, know with assurance that it was God’s power and the power of living in perfect accordance with divine law that caused Satan to surrender and give up his evil reign of terror.
Now Satan has launched another offensive for the destruction of the human race. His strategy employs two destructive forces even more fundamental and threatening than communism. This is through religious war and racial war. Anyone can see we are standing on the threshold of conflicts of such devastating proportions that they would cast our human race, if it survives at all, into the deepest darkness, barely able to maintain life on a devastated and ravaged planet. If races, religions and nations limit their thinking to self-benefit, the only one who will gain is Satan, the enemy of God and of the human race.
For this reason, the unending concern of God’s heart is related to these two issues. Why did God reveal Himself to the prophets and create the great religions of the world? Of course it was to enable the human race to return to Him, and then, in perfect oneness with His blessed Will, establish a peaceful world. Humankind must know God’s original vision for the world and know the reason God revealed himself to the prophets. Surely no one expressed this original ideal of God more deeply than the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), both in word and in deed. God who has infinite compassion would not like to see even the littlest one perish. What would we be then if we tolerated or even perpetuated interreligious strife knowing that this is the exact opposite of God’s desire? We can never lend our hand so willingly to Satan’s plan to destroy innocent children and cast humankind into unspeakable darkness.
The same is true of racial war. We are one family descended from common parents. God intended all races to live in harmony as brothers and sisters. Again the blessed Prophet knew this and history clearly records that he exemplified this understanding through the substantial deeds of his life. It is our unavoidable mission now to reveal God’s whole plan for peace and harmony and cooperation between races and religions. Anyone who isolates only disparate portions of God’s revealed truth and preaches against others goes against God. We cannot depend on the masses or even political, economic and military leaders to understand the revealed Will of God as fully as we who have devoted ourselves to religious and spiritual leadership. Let us educate humankind about God’s original, broad vision for peace and brotherhood. At this time in human history nothing could be more painful and offensive to God than religious and racial war.
The Middle East is the battleground between God and Satan
Why are the greatest tensions on the planet centered on the Middle East? Is it because a single military aggressor happens to come from a Middle Eastern nation, or because the area is rich in oil? No! Anyone offering analysis strictly at that level, no matter how much of a genius or how profound their historical and political knowledge, lacks the necessary starting point to explain the deeper reality. The reason is that this is the arena of activity for God and Satan. All the prophets of the three great covenants received their revelations in this region. Is this because God’s message was destined only for the people of the Middle East? Of course not! God’s Word is destined to be the guiding force for all human life everywhere on this planet. Similarly, the present tensions and conflicts here are not a matter of concern for people only from this region. The fate of the whole world depends on developments in the Middle East. Just as the great prophets had to fight the forces of darkness to make the vision of God available for the whole world, your peacemaking mission is to deny the forces of evil that delight in racial and religious war, and reveal the divine Will for peace to the whole world.
I know that human history has been marked by the constant struggle between good and evil. This is natural in the process of restoring human life and society to oneness with God’s love and heart. If we study this process closely, we can see the principle by which the great saints and prophets conquered the forces of evil. Satan always establishes his evil regime first, ahead of God. Then with this mighty power, Satan attacks God’s side attempting to destroy the tender shoot of God’s Word and crush the lives of His gentle champions. Satan is always first. He is first to establish power, and first to attack. In fact, aggression is the trademark of Satan. Being attacked first is the trademark of God’s side. Yet God’s side prospers according to this principle. By being attacked first, God’s side builds up great wealth through suffering and sacrifice. Through paying this price and bearing injustice, God’s side ultimately gains the victory. Perhaps you are most familiar with the mighty yet corrupt powers that ruled out of Mecca during the life of the blessed Prophet. When Muhammad brought his sweeping message of peace and brotherhood among all tribes and peoples, these mighty governments of evil power mobilized themselves to take the life of God’s Messenger and his followers. The followers of Islam endured this aggression and injustice and thus, by conforming to God’s principle of indemnity, Muhammad and his followers were able to bring even these mighty powers into complete surrender. In the end Muhammad walked unimpeded as the glorious victor to the Kaaba, dedicating it to the one true God.
Yet his is not the only story that reveals this principle of God. The same is true for Jesus, the family of Abraham, and others. In fact, if you look at any mighty religion on the earth today, you will see clearly that it prospered by means of living out this very principle of indemnity and self-sacrifice. How foolish we would be if we dared to think that the perfect and true God changes His ways as we do. These truths never change: one, aggression belongs to Satan; and two, God’s side achieves victory by being attacked, enduring, paying indemnity and sacrificing. These are true and lasting principles—principles that mock the size of armies, the wisdom of political science, the geology and economics of oil, and so on. Only one truth prevails and that is the truth of God and His laws of restoration.
Besides the principle of restoration and victory through indemnity, the second unchanging historical principle is that God always supports those serving the larger purpose. For example, if one person lived only for a self-purpose and a second lived for the family, God would support the second one, the one who lived for the benefit of the family. The former actually sacrifices others for personal benefit. The latter sacrifices the self for others.
On the other hand, between one who lived for the family and one who sacrificed the beloved family for the benefit of the community, God would support the one living for the community. This too is an unchanging principle of God. Once again, we can use the Prophet as a supreme example of knowing and living according to this divine principle. Did the Prophet live only for his own clan or tribe or even only for the Arab people? No, he always lived for the higher purpose, not limiting his message for only one group or race. The message of the Prophet was for every precious one into whom God breathes His spirit.
Thus, the greatest among us is the one who ultimately lives for a purpose even higher than the world. The highest purpose is to live for God. The way to check one’s closeness to God is to see if one’s message and life are devoted to the greatest purpose. All action must be for the greatest good of all humankind, never for the sake of only one group, nation, religion or race. The one who is closest to God is the one who lives for the sake of the whole.
Therefore, even though the contemporary situation in the Middle East is complex, we must resist the temptation to rely on all sorts of analyses and sophisticated interpretations. Our primary responsibility is never to forget God’s unchanging, revealed principles: Aggression is of Satan, and blessedness is to sacrifice the individual purpose for the sake of the greater purpose.
The way to resolve conflicts between religions
Only religious leaders know these truths and these ways of peace. So we have no other choice than to be the bold pioneers revealing God’s Will and God’s principles. Peace depends on us.
As we deal with the present situation, and speak to our followers, including the political and military leaders who depend on our wisdom, do not think about which nation might benefit most; instead, think about what is best for the whole world. We must be the untiring voice calling for true love, the base for living for the sake of others. The greatest imaginable tragedy would be for war to erupt between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. The whole world—the United States, European nations, Middle East nations and so on—needs to realize this. That is why I am sending this message to leaders of all nations. Everyone must live for one goal: to protect and safeguard this situation against the possibility of a religious war. As religious leaders, ours is the greatest responsibility. We must do everything in our power to guide all players into a peaceful solution for this Middle East situation.
With my deepest heart, I pray day and night for the peace I have just described. All religious leaders must do the same.
Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your holy and noble love of God and God’s peace. May God bless you and your families, and bring lasting peace to our world, our home.