The Words of the Arnoldi Family
Stuttgart, Germany -- Hubert Arnoldi, UPF-Stuttgart Chairman and Board Chairman of the House of Religion in Stuttgart, welcomed 30 guests to a forum on the International Day of Human Rights, December 10.
Irina Zvonkina, an enthusiastic pianist, performed two of her own compositions and helped create a festive atmosphere. The first talk was given by Stefanie Correa from the Church of Scientology about the topic, "Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Origin and Contents." She has been active in teaching children and teenagers about human rights. Mrs. Correa gave insights into the history of human rights starting with the ancient Persians and continuing into the age of the Romans, English, and French. She explained about the founding of the United Nations and how it adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the General Assembly on December 10, 1948. A film was shown about human rights, pointing out the importance of recognizing and implementing them in daily life at home, in the neighborhood, and in the workplace.
The second presentation was given by Prof. Dr. Taher Al-Radwany, an Islamic scholar, about "Human Rights in Islam." He gave several examples, including human equality regardless of race, gender, or religion; the right to decide one's beliefs; right of resistance; equal opportunities; and co-determination. Dr. Al-Radwany illustrated his statements with quotes from the Qur'an and the Sunnah (the teachings and practices of Prophet Mohammed). The Islamic ban on charging interest on loans and the annual Zakat, or charitable donation, demonstrate solidarity and the right of prosperity for everyone.
The third talk was about "Religious Freedom – A Human Right That Blesses Humankind" and was presented by Lutz Leverentz, a math teacher and representative of Christian Science. His emphasis was the freedom of belief, conscience, and thought. Mr. Leverentz explained that religion has the ability to show people how to lead an exemplary life and rise above the way of suffering and the destruction of nature. He urged people to be tolerant towards people of other religions and encounter them with deep respect. He feels that people of faith should not just defend their own truth and their identity as separate from other religions but rather live the truth, "taking the log first out of our own eye before we take the splinter out of someone else's eye." Can there be only one religion, he asked? The diversity of religions can be compared to the various rivers flowing into the ocean or the different instruments playing together in an orchestra. He ended his speech with a prayer by Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy about divine truth, divine life, and divine love.
To round off the event, Irina Zvonkina performed two more of her beautiful compositions. Lutz Leverentz was then presented with an Ambassador for Peace certificate honoring his dedicated efforts to promote inter-religious harmony. Afterwards, the guests used the opportunity while sharing coffee and cake to get to know each other better.
The donations collected during the program were given to the House of Religion in Stuttgart, which was established in Stuttgart on the International Day of Peace, September 21.