Hon. Salisu Ahmed Bara u Commissioner for Religion in Bauchi State, Nigeria
The United Nations, Geneva, 23rd September 2011
In a major conference in UN Geneva convened by the Universal Peace Federation and the Women's Federation for World Peace, the role of multiculturalism was considered by such influential figures as Ambassador Makarim Wibisono, the former Chair of UN's ECOSOC and UN Human Rights Council and Dr Walter Schwimmer, the former Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
In an introduction by Dr. Yong Cheon Song, Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation in Europe he quoted UPF's Founder, Dr Sun Myung Moon on the role of religion in solving interreligious and intercultural conflict.
'Religious people have not always been good examples in the practice of love and living for the sake of others, especially beyond the limits of their own culture. For this reason they should engage in deep self-reflection. It is time for religious people to repent for their preoccupation with individual salvation and narrow denominational interests.' Dr Moon suggested that an Inter-religious Council at the United Nations would be an ideal forum for dialogue between the religious-cultural spheres of the world.
Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster stated that Human Rights must include socio-economic rights. He expressed his concern that “rights are being chipped away” by budget cuts, “the war on immigration” and the practice of “stop and search” by British police.
1) Human Rights in Europe are part of Liberal Jurisprudence
We do not have minority rights unlike nations like India or in parts of the Middle East or in South Africa or Canada. Rights here are fundamentally individual rights, enjoyed by minorities as individuals not as a collectivity.2) Rights are not just civil and political. They are also social and economic rights and they extend to welfare and social benefit and lots of other things.
An event, held yesterday in the House of Lords to mark 12th September as a Global Interdependence Day, was entitled 'Islam, Multi-culturalism and the Lessons of Norway' and co-sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation. The programme had been organised by Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who sadly could not be present. The distinguished panel included, Mr Jan Gustav Strandanaeu, U.N. Consultant on Environmental issues, Dr Omar Khan, Research Director, Runnymede Trust, Imam Sajid, Chair of Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony, Lord Frank Judd, Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Chair of World Council of Faiths, Dr Varun Uberoi, Lecturer at Brunel University, and the programme was chaired by Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel. The event was co-sponsored by the Gandhi Foundation, Runnymede Trust, Universal Peace Federation and Civ-World (U.S.A.).