Bringing together internationally known religious leaders from Muslim and Jewish communities world-wide
By Alan Simons
OCTOBER 6, 2007 – Hommes de Parole is a Swiss foundation based in Geneva. It was created in 2001 by Alain Michel. The Foundation is independent, belongs to no religious, political, philosophical, ideological or economic movement of structure.
The Foundation considers spirituality as the very essence of life. One of its objectives is “to renew dialogue between parties and to act on the causes of conflicts and on the principal problems of our times, relative to our concerns for the future of the planet and peace in the world.
“Through the Foundation’s stated actions, it also brings extremes together. To bring together those who cannot meet in conventional contexts. To give them the opportunity to get to know each other, to discover their common points, their common needs, to resolve their divergences, to build and act together.” The Foundation states:
The position of ‘dynamic’ neutrality that is cultivated by the Foundation Hommes de Parole and the proximity that it maintains in the field with the populations has enabled it on numerous occasions to bring together the extremes, reputed impossible to reconcile.
Hommes de Parole provides an environment of confidence, where all passions are put to one side, and puts it organization at the service of the protagonists in conflict in order to accompany them in meeting, dialogue and common actions in the short, medium and long terms.
As jewishinfonews reported in detail in March 2006, Hommes de Parole, with the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, has been instrumental and in the forefront of bringing together internationally known and respected religious leaders from Muslim and Jewish communities world-wide, as well as religious experts.
The religious leaders who attended the 2006 Second World Congress in Seville, Spain – the list is formidable, a link will be given later- produced a final statement that included the following:
We accordingly affirm that contrary to widespread misrepresentation, there is no inherent conflict between Islam and Judaism, on the contrary.
While modern politics has regrettably impacted negatively upon the relationship, our two religions share the most fundamental values of faith… Therefore we reiterate the message we sent from our first congress, that we deplore bloodshed or violence in the name of any ideology everywhere. Especially when such is perpetrated in the name of religion it is a desecration of religion, itself and the gravest offense against the Holy Name of the Creator.
We condemn any incitement against a faith or people, let alone any call for their elimination, and we urge authorities to do likewise.
At the conclusion of the Seville Congress, I received this e-mail from a Rabbi who is based in Europe:
Large delegation from Gaza
It was a significant meeting. The fact that a large delegation from Gaza was present was in itself a breakthrough. Although there were indeed sharp complaints directed at the rabbis, the informal exchange was cordial and respectful. Yes, trust was established. Future plans were made to enlarge the circle and meet more frequently in smaller workshops.
As stated by Hommes de Parole: “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for 60 years. 60 years of war, violence and suffering. No political intervention. No governmental decision. No United Nations resolution has permitted any veritable peace agreement to be achieved nor any sense of security, to the contrary! Yet, many Israelis and Palestinians work every day towards peaceful co-habitation, dialogue and peace.”
This past 22nd of September, the day of Yom Kippur and the 10th day of the month of Ramadan, the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace seized the opportunity to put into motion a movement for peace between Israel and Palestine.
2008 The Year of Peace Initiatives
In declaring 2008, the year of peace initiatives for the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, the Congress stated that the religious people of the entire world, Jews, Moslems, as well as Christians, must engage in their participation to promote and organise the brotherhood towards the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. They said all citizens, believers and non-believers, are invited to have their say, by their initiatives and their actions to support and promote with solidarity the populations of Israel and Palestine.
The Hommes de Parole web site, in English and in French, as well as further information about the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, can be seen at: http://www.hommesdeparole.org/