AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - "Religious extremism is a threat to development" says Fr. Devine of the Shalom Center

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 violence   extremism  

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - "We are attentive to the Religionization of politics and the Politicization of religion", warned Fr. Patrick Devine (SMA), founder and president of the Shalom Center in Nairobi, Kenya, in his speech at the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), underway in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa (see Fides 16/7/2018).
Fr. Devine said that religious ideological extremism is concerned with eradicating alternative modes of existence and perception in society through terrorism. "Terrorism is the tool of violent extremism used to purge society of tolerance for other modes of existence in respect to worldviews and faith positions. To counter this negative process there is a distinct need, paradoxically, for an intolerance of intolerance" said the missionary.
Religious extremism has a direct impact on economic development and on the life prospects of entire populations - emphasizes Fr. Devine - "because in a Country where people are killed, maimed and displaced persistently, communities cannot experience sustained development because periodically schools, hospitals, formation institutions and many others become inoperable or totally destroyed".
Fr. Devine suggested that, in order to prevent such problems, governments must strengthen and improve education and collaboration with new and traditional media. It is also necessary to increase the efforts of regional and international partners to resolve conflicts in the area and to build peaceful, inclusive and fair societies through respect, protection and promotion of human rights.
Finally at an ecclesial level "there is an urgent need for Religious leaders/seminarians to have greater exposure and proficiency in the areas of Peace Studies, Development, Comparative Religion and International relations. Today this is essential", concluded Fr. Devine. (L.M.)) (Agenzia Fides, 18/7/2018)