The Secretary General, GNRC, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, joined other leaders from across the world for the Sixth Annual G20 Interfaith Forum in Tokyo, Japan on 7th – 10th June 2019, in which the theme, “Peace, People, Planet: Pathways Forward,” was discussed. The forum convened two thousand (2,000) global religious, political, humanitarian, academic leaders and policy experts to discuss global sustainable development issues whose recommendations will be submitted to the G20 Summit.
Notable speakers at the forum included Lord Carey of Clifton, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, H.E. Enda Kenny, 13th Taoiseach Prime Minister of Ireland, H.E. John Key, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Graça Machel, a notable African stateswoman, among others. Keynote messages from Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew were read. The GNRC Secretary General also addressed the congregation during the Interfaith Summit.
During the forum to envision a better world, members outlined steps to be taken and programs that would address problems of poverty, human trafficking, climate change and peace building. Religious leaders took to the stage at the G20 Interfaith Forum to share progress and their contribution to a sustainable world.
At the Forum, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints noted that faith communities are a unique connector between international and local organizations and also have the capacity to respond to global problems through their network.
Senior Advisor to the United Nations Population Fund, Dr. Azza Karam, commended the efforts by G20 Summit to include faith leaders in the development process. She however insisted that much still needed to be done to achieve ultimate peace including building more partnerships with faith communities for sustainable development.
In his remarks, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali urged world leaders to invest more in the protection and nurturing of children in today’s challenging world. He spoke about the recruitment of children into gangs for violence and extremist groups; sexual exploitation and abuse of children, trafficking and forced labor as some of the serious challenges that millions of children face. Dr. Ali noted that the online dignity of the child is at risk, with millions of innocent children robbed of their innocence. He urged religious leaders and faith communities to step up and challenge all these forms of violence against children.
On the subject of climate change, Dr. Ali explained that the adverse pollution and destruction of the environment have caused drastic change in climate, which threatens the very existence of humanity; and if the world won’t seek solutions to the climate change then we risk loosing our future. He concluded by emphasizing on the protection of children, whose birth, bring glad tidings to the human race and the earth – coming with a special message that God the Divine is not despaired of us and the earth.
The importance of understanding and respecting one another without compromising on what makes religions unique was implored in the forum. Relief organizations and governments shared their readiness to continue working with religious leaders and faith communities to better prepare for natural disasters, which will likely happen more frequently as the global climate continues to change.
Japanese religious leader Dr. Haruhisa Handa referred to the potential the world holds when religious leaders and governments commit to deeper, more impactful relationships with one another. “We need to understand each other, otherwise worldwide challenges cannot be resolved,” he added.
The G20 Interfaith Forum offers a unique platform for diversity of religiously-minded ideas to engage in discussion about pressing global issues. Each year the Summit brings new challenges to the world’s leaders and proposes sustainable solutions that communities can emulate.