More than a century before religious extremists brought down New York’s Twin Towers, the opening act of a new era of terror, a visionary Hindu leader spoke these words to the first ever Parliament of the World’s Religions on September 11, 1893: “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood … ”
“I fervently hope,” Swami Vivekananda went on to say, “that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”
Tragically, Swami Vivekananda’s hope has proved illusory. Sectarian and religiously motivated violence has continued to plague the earth to this day. The bombing of a church in Alexandria, Egypt and the assassination in Pakistan of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer are but two recent high-profile examples.
However, a recent initiative by Jordan’s King Abdullah II once more raises the banner for cooperation among people of different faith traditions, for a global effort to defuse the powder keg of religious division. READ MORE