Prepared for "A Congress on World’s Religions After September 11:  An Asian Perspective.  New Delhi January 17-20, 2009

Global Congress, 2009  The Dalai Lama

Reconciliation of Religious Philosophies, Dogmas and Faiths

By

2009 Nadine Sultana d’Osman Han


The 21st Century is in mourning.  Mourning of hopes deceived, compassionate justice denied and false prophecies.  It is an overwhelming grief on a Global scale.  In their desperate attempt to alleviate their unbearable sufferings, humans are tearing each other apart.

In the footsteps of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the Nations on December 10, 1948 for a coherent Global protection of human dignity and simple humanity, the 21st Century must see the creation of a religious body that can enforce the end of religious discrimination and more importantly an end of abusive interpretations of Holy books.

Within a reconciliation framework of religious philosophies, dogmas and faiths, a new spiritual awareness must emerge to be an effective tool to strengthen the UN in its efforts to combat injustice, human cruelties and the many ills in our present society.

A number of Religious Leaders joined the "Appeal of Conscience Initiative" on behalf of Conflict Resolution in the 90’s.  This Initiative resulted in the following actions:

1)  The signing of the "Appeal for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina" on November 26, 1992 in Berne, Switzerland, in the office of H.E. Rene Felber, President of the Swiss Confederation.  The participants were H.E. Reverend Vinko Puljic, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sarajevo; H.E. Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church; H.E. Rais Ulema Jakud Efendi Selimoski of Sarajevo and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, President of the "Appeal of Conscience" Foundation.

In this document they declared that:

a)  Crime in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion.
b)  All torture and massacres provoke horror and shame, but nothing provokes it more than the criminal and inhuman treatment of women and young girls and even children, and we condemn such horrors.                                           1
c)  We propose the alternative to hatred, destruction, pogroms and inhumanity, an alternative worthy of men and of our faith in God:  it is peace, justice, the dignity of the human being, tolerance and reconciliation—in one word—love for mankind for all time and eternity.

2)  A Conference was held on February 1994 in Istanbul, Turkey on "Peace and Tolerance in the Balkans, Caucasus, and Central Asia" with the participation of Chief Rabbi Aseo of Turkey; H.E. Mehmet Yuri Yilmaz who is the President of Religious Affairs in Turkey; His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Rabbi Arthur Schneie; H.E. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray from the Vatican and H.E. Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukar Pashazade from Azerbaijan.

3)  In Vienna, Austria, on March 30, 1995, The "Appeal of Conscience Conflict Resolution Conference" addressed again the conflicts outlined above and a new Vienna declaration was signed in presence of H.E. Dr. Thomas Klestil President of Austria.  

4)  The "Kosovo Peace and Tolerance" Vienna Declaration was signed March 18, 1999 with the participation and support of The President of Austria, H.E. Dr. Thomas Klestil; Chancellor Viktor Klima, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Chancellor Wolfang Schussel.  Supportive encouragement came from the President of the United States, Bill Clinton; the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Kofi Annan; His Holiness Pope Paul II; The President of the European Community, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Gerhard Schroder, and many others.  (1)

All these signed "Declarations" firmly denounced the killing and all acts of violence.  They made recommendations to achieve the peace that we are all seeking, while reminding us of the words from Proverbs:—"Life and death are in the power of the tongue".  (1)

Nonetheless, the "2000 Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders" brought to the surface disturbing waves of irreconcilable difference in spite of declared "Good Will" from all.  These waves came to full force in the ensuing years of unrelenting warfare on a global scale.

The former United Nations Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold was quoted in a letter— to the UN/DPI/NGO Journal by Raymond Sommereyns on 15 August 2007 —that "the United Nations was not created to take humanity to heaven, but to save it from hell".  And, that "it is our collaborative effort that can prevent us from disaster".  (2).  Religion is at the center of this conflict.  

Religion is indeed at the center of human conflicts for religion influences profoundly governmental laws and society’s behavior, even secular ones—except perhaps Atheist Communist regimes; however this is a separate issue.
                                      
Balzac wrote in 1842—"I write by the light of two eternal truths: Religion and Monarchy"—Since then, it is true that most Monarchies have been replaced by Republics that did not bring more peace nor justice in modern times.  Quite the contrary, for in fact if not in theory, Republics are less accountable than Monarchies.  
—"It is said that religion and politics cannot mix, yet we must have both to restrict excessive abuse in either direction.  It is this very duality that was the strength of the Ottoman Empire.  Religion without politics becomes rigid and obsolete with time; politics without religion become insensitive and unconcerned for the individual’s right to dignity and compassion.  The Ottoman Sultanate-Caliphate form of government was in balance, because religion limited the excessive powers of its politics and humanized its rule."— (3)

This presentation is not debating the theological merits nor shortcomings of each philosophy, dogma or faith.  The seriousness of Global chaos in all human aspects of our lives requires an immediate examination of where we have erred in order to comprehend fully our actions and their catastrophic consequences, so as to engage seriously and without delay for the recovery of human life as understood by a civilized world.  

This century is dangerously reverting to a form of inquisition as was endured for centuries with the infamous inquisition of the Christian Catholic Church.  Today, it could be said that we are in the midst of a DEMOCRATIC INQUISITION where profiling (instead of racism), torture (called softening of prisoners) and other unspeakable abuses are being branded acceptable behavior in the name of democratic freedom (under the Christian umbrella).  As for Islam, in these modern times, its true teaching of Justice and Tolerance is being jeopardized by a few misguided leaders or preachers, who impose their own brand of inquisition.  We seem to have lost the ability to tell right from wrong.  Today’s truth is like a lamb surrounded by wolves.  

Let us examine the true meaning of words like democracy and capitalism.

Democracy: is a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free and fair electoral system.  Democracy as applied to government is the respect for the freedom and equality of its citizens.  It is a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges without any discrimination.

Capitalism: is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations—usually a very small number of people made extremely wealthy by capitalism activities—who control by their very wealth the life of the majority.                                                                                          
The source of capitalist income comes directly from a workforce of exploited workers who usually do not share in the profit of their labor.

Democracy and unchecked capitalism are incompatible.

A democratic government that shows contempt for social justice and equality toward the most disadvantaged and vulnerable of its citizens, paves the way for fascism that favors corporatism and nationalistic intolerance—as reflected in the Patriot Act of the United States.

Global Corporation’s mix of economics and political power promotes global injustice and annihilation of civilized humane societies.  Corporations are by their very structure inhumane for their main goal is the pursuit of profit.  This in turn encourages a slavery mentality as well as a warfare one to appropriate what belongs to others.

A civilized humanity and wars are incompatible.  The evils of warfare have reached such a level of unspeakable horror that the whole world shall find itself collapsing under the weight of the agonizing cries of millions of civilians slaughtered in warfare, viewed callously as "collateral" damage, or tortured and killed as collective punishment for real or imagined retribution, the monstrous concept of preemptive war and preemptive imprisonment of enemies real or imagined, without trial or rights, the uprooting of millions of people thrown into the squalor of homelessness by governments that rule Mafia-style under silence of religious leaders.  This is true for superpowers as well as third world nations.

For too long, the World’s Religions have contributed to the present ills by engaging in warfare themselves and misinterpreting the teachings of Prophets in order to usurp power and acquire wealth.  Today the World’s Religions must return to the path of SPIRITUALITY —that is the truth of our conscience without shields of justification for aggressive behavior or violence.

The World’s Religions must abandon bigotry and the race for imposing their own dogmas over others faiths.  All religions are to be based on the only spiritual truth —that there is only One God with many Prophets who transmitted to us the same message of Allah/God’s commands: to be just, compassionate and tolerant, leading us toward a Universal Consciousness for true human serenity and decency on earth.

The Vatican, Patriarchies, Synagogues, and other Religious Temples or Houses of Worship as well as the former Ottoman Caliphate (that should be fully reinstated as the rightful Caliphate for Islam), should unite in their moral duty to preserve human civilization and protect it from all forms of violence and oppression.

The former Ottoman Empire’s laws of conscience and restraint in an era when warfare was inevitable, could be a milestone toward achieving the preservation of individuals rights of diversity without being persecuted.  It is well-known that the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty was selected to be the ruler in spite of being the youngest son of his ruler-father, due to his exceptional abilities as a compassionate combatant.  Should he be the witness of a group being unjustly attacked by a larger army (usually for no other reason than to steal the assets of a defenseless people), Osman Gazi without hesitation came to the rescue of the victimized minority.  Osman Gazi was ahead of his time by his humanitarian consciousness.
As a ruler, Osman Gazi, when possible preferred to resolve conflict or acquire territories by peaceful negotiations.  —"The magnanimity and humility of the Ottoman Sultans as victorious warriors were well known, for they were at all times conscious of their duties and obedience to Allah.  During the 700 years-long reign of the Ottomans, the Sultans never relished warfare, and when necessity obliged them to do so, they were always able to temper the brutality of war by showing clemency toward the people they defeated.  The conquered people were granted the same justice and privileges as their own subjects and allowed to preserve their own culture by laws that recognized that equality did not mean the imposing of one culture over another, but by respecting differences in personal thoughts, religion and ethnic background.  This fundamental respect guaranteed Ottoman citizens egalitarian rights under the law of the Empire."— (3)

The Ottoman Empire’s founder, Ozman Gazi had these last words to his descendants for governance of the Empire: —"May whoever, in my illustrious descents, swerve from honesty and justice be deprived of the intercession of Rasoul-ou A’zam (Mohammed Moustapha, S.A.S)".—"My dear son! There is no human-being who is not submissive to death.  Now, with Allah’s Will, the death is imminent to me.  I commit the Principality to you, and you to Allah the All-knowing.  You should keep the superiority of justice in your affairs." (8): p.33 —(3)

These ethics were rigorously upheld throughout the Dynasty and in particular by Padishah Sultan-Caliph Abdulhamid II, toward the end of the Dynasty.  In exile, the Padishah’s younger son, Sultan Selim i-Rabi bin Hamid Han, upheld these ethics against many odds and challenges.  HIH Sultan Selim transmitted to me the enormous responsibility of these precepts to be preserved for the Ottoman Caliphate that was awarded to the Ottoman Sultans due to their exceptional qualities of humanity and justice.

—"To be an Osmanli means:

The moral values of mankind
Good manners toward one’s neighbors
Honesty in dealing
Compassion toward the needy
Understanding and kindness toward family and friends
Tolerance towards the enemy
And above all, true justice."— (3)

On behalf of the exiled Ottoman Caliphate, as Regent, I , Nadine Sultana d’Osman Han, support fully the proposed Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s religion, as a supplement to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

In addition I would make the following recommendations:

1)  A United World’s Religions International Court for humanity with the cooperation of the United Nations.

2)  A Declaration for Global Peace and the authority to enforce it through the Court.

3) To declare Warfare and threat of warfare a Crime Against Humanity.   Governments that persist on warfare should be accountable before a neutral court and be removed from their position immediately.  In addition, economic sanctions against a Nation should be outlawed since it penalize innocent civilians.

4)  To oversee that candidates for Leadership be selected only for their competence to solve conflict by diplomacy only, and the well-being of mankind.

5)  To enforce the protection of children and bring to justice without delay any perpetrator.  Trafficking and exploitation of children as well as women must never be tolerated.  Officials who do not enforce that protection within their borders must be made accountable.

6)  Squalid poverty and hunger should not be tolerated in today’s society.  Nor the underpaid exploitation of workers allowed.  Profits should be equitable between workers and employers with a minimum and a maximum that is regulated for fairness.  We should apply the wisdom of words from proverbs: "Money is a good servant but a poor master".

7)  Weapons of Mass destruction should be dismantled worldwide, for every country without exception.  The enormous financial budget wasted on armament should be redirected to alleviate poverty, hunger and cope with natural catastrophes.

8)  Military armies should be transformed as a humanitarian army to cope with disasters and other peaceful missions.


Any reckless destruction of life is an holocaust, but if we do not change our mentality of distrust and hatred for those who differ from us, we may live to see a global holocaust.

I cannot overstate the urgency for all organizations of conscience to unite and act quickly.  As with the pollution of the planet, the pollution of our societies may reach a point of no return unless we act now with energy and true commitment to the salvation of all mankind.  

There is only one fundamental religious rule to which all religions should abide as well as any governments:—"Do not do unto others, what you would not like them do unto you"—.


______________________

Sources:

(1)  Appeal of Conscience Foundation, 119 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
(2)  Journal for the 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, UN, New York 5-7 September 2007
(3)  The Legacy of Sultan Abdulhamid II: Memoirs & Biography of HIH Sultan Selim bin Hamid Han" by Nadine Sultana D’Osman Han—Sultana Publising, Santa Fe, NM USA 2001—pp.89, 152, 10, 11, 22, 151, ii.