The Words of the Shahi Family
Some of the participants of the November 1986 conference on Islam and Godism.
A historic conference held in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Thanksgiving weekend, 1986, brought together 45 Middle East scholars and religious leaders to compare the teachings of Islam with the Principle.
The conference was sponsored by the International Middle East Alliance (IMEA), an educational and religious organization founded by Father on July 18, 1984, during a three-day seminar for Middle East scholars. Father's deep love and concern for the people of the Middle East was exemplified in his establishing the alliance the very week he was to enter Danbury prison.
In his Founder's Address at that initial seminar, Father encouraged the alliance to be committed "to finding new possibilities for peace in the Middle East and beyond." His closing remarks, delivered in absentia, will remain as the cornerstone and the force behind the success of IMEA:
I deeply support your courageous efforts to begin this seemingly impossible task. I regret not attending this historical meeting with you tonight, but I am bound with you in the same spirit and determination to build God's Kingdom and to end the suffering for all.
Since its beginnings, IMEA, under the guidance of Rev. C. H. Kwak, has brought together Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people from other faiths of the Middle East to engage in dialogue centered on Unificationism. Conferences on the theme of "Godism: A New Philosophy and Worldview" have introduced a long-needed vision and hope toward solving the conflicts of this troubled region. IMEA conferences have also provided participants with a forum to express their views and concerns about their homelands.
For the recent conference, "Islam and Godism Philosophy: A Comparative Analysis," held on November 28- 30, 1986, speakers had done an extensive study of the Principle, and their papers made important contributions toward a better understanding of Islam and Unificationism and their commonalities. The future publication of the conference papers will provide Unificationists with a better appreciation for Islam, a faith that is shared by almost one billion people, as well as help introduce Unification- ism to Muslims.
Dr. Mose Durst shares about his personal experiences with Father.
Dr. Sebastian A. Matczak, professor of philosophy at UTS, opened the conference with his paper on 'A Survey of Unificationism (Godism)." He eloquently emphasized the importance of Unificationism as the trend of the future and thus the need for Muslims to understand it properly.
Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunus, professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Cortland, gave the keynote speech on "The Quest for Ideology: Contemporary Religion and Beyond': He explained that Muslim scholars have paid little attention to creation theology because "they have so much to preoccupy themselves with right now in this world.... For them, then, ideology and not theology is the way to salvation. He pointed out that true dialogue between Christians and Muslims had never been possible in the past because of Christianity's belief that Jesus is God Himself. He said that the Unificationist position on the value of Jesus has opened up the possibility for sincere interaction among Muslims, Unificationists, and established Christianity.
Dr. Abdo Elkholy (light suit) and other scholars look over the book display.
Dr. Abdo A. Elkholy, head of the sociology department at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois, presented his paper on "The Concepts of the Fall and Original Sin:' Dr. Elkholy, a long-time supporter of the Unification movement and an admirer of Father, is probably America's best- known authority on the Arab world and is highly regarded in Egypt, the country of his birth. His paper stated that both the Prophet Mohammed and Rev. Moon have "embraced humanity, without boundaries, to convert it to God in order to achieve the Kingdom of Heaven on earth" Furthermore, he said, both men have attempted to defeat evil, now represented by international communism, with a godly ideology.
Dr. Elkholy summarized the essence of the conference:
While it is clear that Muslims consider Mohammed the last prophet, there is no objection for them to consider Rev. Moon a messiah. After all, Islam welcomes social reformers and glorifies them regardless of their origin, race, or ethnicity. The return of the state of the lost paradise that was designed for us is now within our reach. It does not require any miracle more than every individual, you and I, starting right now to create heaven on earth. This is the ultimate goal of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the unified form of Unificationism.
Another important highlight was a presentation by Dr. Mose Durst on "Rev. Moon and the Unification Movement:' Dr. Durst's sharing of his own personal relationship with Father, as well as the vision that has inspired Father to initiate so many diverse activities, helped everyone gain a deeper appreciation for Father and the Unification movement.
God's presence and love were felt by everyone, and the spirit of unity overcame theological differences. Disagreements only added to the realization of the need for Godism to help bring unity in the Middle East.
IMEA will continue to bring Father's message of "One World Under God" to the people of the Middle East. IMEA is reaching out, at this time, to Middle East religious, academic, and community leaders in America. In time, Inshallah (God willing), IMEA will introduce the Principle to entire communities of Middle East people in America as well as create bridges to people living in Islamic countries all over the world.
Information on the activities of the Alliance may be obtained by writing or calling:
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New York, NY 10001