FCA’s work with religious and traditional peacemakers in the heart of Barack Obama’s speech at the UN

President Barack Obama highlighted the work of FCA and the Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers that FCA is facilitating in his speech at the UN General Assembly late Wednesday night.The President emphasised the importance of finding the means of bringing people of different faiths together and “building new bridges of understanding” as a step to counter extremist ideologies.  In his speech, President Obama referred directly to Sheik bin Bayyah, who is with the FCA staff in Washington planning the work of the Network, and to our joint interfaith mission to CAR with Obama Administration:

That means bringing people of different faiths together…. All religions have been attacked by extremists from within at some point, and all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all great religions: Do unto thy neighbor as you would do — you would have done unto yourself.”

The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day. Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies — Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.” Look at the young British Muslims who responded to terrorist propaganda by starting the “NotInMyName” campaign, declaring, “ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam.” Look at the Christian and Muslim leaders who came together in the Central African Republic to reject violence; listen to the Imam who said, “Politics try to divide the religious in our country, but religion shouldn’t be a cause of hate, war, or strife.”

Late Wednesday night the Security Council adopted a resolution that underscored the responsibility of states to counter violent extremism.

But resolutions must be followed by tangible commitments, so we’re accountable when we fall short. Next year, we should all be prepared to announce the concrete steps that we have taken to counter extremist ideologies in our own countries — by getting intolerance out of schools, stopping radicalisation before it spreads, and promoting institutions and programs that build new bridges of understanding.”


Antti Pentikäinen
Executive Director FCA