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Looking Ahead...

Projects planned for 2006-7 include:

The Peace Councilors plan to meet in Europe with representatives of Muslim communities in Europe, probably in early 2007. Peace Councilor Dr. Dalil Boubakeur will be the host. He is the Rector of the Islamic Institute at the Grand Mosque of Paris.  This gathering occurs in a context of apparent conflict between Muslim communities and European societies. It is primarily concerned with the future of Islam, now at a crossroads between Muslim “fundamentalists” and Muslims who envisage Islam as part of a modern and pluralistic world characterized by social and political secularism.

Purposes of the Meeting:

--At the invitation of the Peace Council and the Islamic Institute at the Grand Mosque of Paris, moderate and progressive European Muslim opinion-leaders and representatives will meet to exchange ideas and perspectives on the situation of Islam in Europe and in the world, on pluralism, and on the future of Islam.

--The meeting is intended to demonstrate that issues related to the growing Muslim presence in Europe can not be characterized simply as "Islam vs. the West," but instead are critical to the development of religious and secular citizenship everywhere in the modern world. The participation of the Peace Councilors, prominent persons from many parts of the world and from several religious traditions, will reinforce this aspect of the meeting.

--Peace Councilors and Muslim leaders will discuss ways in which the Peace Council might contribute to wider understanding of Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance.

Goals of the Meeting:

--The creation of networks of communication and friendship linking moderate and progressive Muslim individuals and groups in Europe and perhaps elsewhere. A number of these persons have expressed the need for better contacts between moderate and progressive Muslims across national boundaries in the EU, saying that their links are less developed than those between “fundamentalist” or extremist Muslim groups.

--A public statement concerning Islam and social policies in Europe, and a publication summarizing the discussions at the meeting.

--An alliance and commitments to publicize moderate and modern thinking within Islam.


Mexico: We continue to support work for human rights in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. This follows the footsteps of Bishop Samuel Ruiz García, who retired five years ago but who remains as an inspiring advisor to several non-governmental organizations in the area. Dominican friar Fr. Gonzalo Ituarte (also a Peace Councilor) was head of the Dominican mission to Ocosingo, a huge parish (almost the size of the country of El Salvador) on the Guatemalan border. He is now Prior Provincial of Mexican Dominicans. Along with the retired Peace Councilor Bishop Ruiz, Fr. Ituarte continues the many-faceted efforts to defend human rights and reduce conflict in Chiapas, probably the area most troubled by paramilitary and intercommunal violence in Central America today.

Specific projects include subsidies for the administrative expenses for humanitarian, civil rights, and human rights work in Ocosingo, and expansion of nursery and pre-school facilities in San Cristóbal de las Casas (in cooperation with Melel Xojobal, an organization that cares for street children and Mayan indian refugees).

Thailand & Southeast Asia: The Peace Council continues to aid to Ven. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni's efforts to restore the right of Southeast Asian women to receive full ordination as Buddhist monastics. Additionally, the Peace Council supports non-governmental organizations assisting refugee women and their families on the Thai-Burma (Myanmar) border in northern Thailand.

Korea: The work in Korea dates to 1998. International meetings in Seoul in 2002, 2003, and 2004 have laid the groundwork for additional initiatives. The Korea Peace Forum has again invited the International Committee for the Peace Council to co-sponsor a conference on Korean peace and security issues in New York. In 2007 the Peace Council has been invited by Hwacheon County (South Korea) to break ground for the new World Peace Bell Park, just south of the Demilitarized Zone.

• The Peace Council will participate as a supporting organization in the Dialogue of Civilizations initiated by the Interreligious Engagement Project. The purpose of the dialogue is to engage the global Muslim community and the West in deeper encounter and dialogue to promote understanding, mutual support, and cooperative common action. Plans are for this process to culminate with an international conference.

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