JERUSALEM DESERVES UNIQUE INTERNATIONAL STATUS
By Fethullah Gülen
Building peace means building the peace-loving man. Unless man is placed at the centre of the solution to problems that emerged in and from man, investing in political and legal systems will remain a waste of time and resources. The Almighty has created in every man, the natural disposition to good and beauty. However, man, in his excesses, sometimes misuses his potentials inherent in his nature.
Indeed, this shift in nature is the worst natural disaster that befalls man. The gloomy pages of history carry stories of so many people killed for the sake of more power and land; the sum of all earthquakes and tsunamis would fail to match the numbers of men killed by other men. Unless these shifts in human nature remain uncured, such human forms which are a disgrace to human species will not cease to exist.
Government institutions and administrators sometimes sacrifice education policies to their own selfish interests and set out to raise generations that will support their own parties, ideologies and rule. Such selfish attitudes cannot lead to building the peace-loving man. Therefore, building the new man should be the role of the civil society.
Mobilizing civil society is particularly vital in societies where democracy is limited to placing ballot boxes before citizens when election results have already been established. Civil society organizations are altruistic in nature. Civil society activity in areas including education and the media both safeguards democracy and guarantees raising of new generations in a climate of tolerance and dialogue.
The purpose of all religions and moral doctrines is to build the peace-loving man. This could refer to international peace, interpersonal peace, peace with other elements of nature or inner peace of man. Almost all major religions have been abused by fundamentalists as an outfit to camouflage their political pursuits and made to serve as a catalyst of conflict at one time or another throughout history. Yet, the sacred origins of all religions and moral doctrines have sufficient material to build peace.
Peace is essential and exploitation of religious texts for the sake of war and conflict is an atrocity against not only people but also these religious texts. Therefore, followers of all religions — particularly Judaism, Christianity and Islam of the Abrahamic tradition — must organize joint activities for world peace, exchange ideas at events and seek ways to translate these ideas into practice. This is not only to safeguard world peace but also to preserve religions in their true and authentic form.
The issue of Jerusalem and Palestine which seems to be the source of almost all conflicts in the Middle East needs serious consideration. Jerusalem should be granted a supranational and supra-religious status including visa-free access for followers of all religions and to develop a unique administration for the city whereby it would be governed by a committee under the United Nations comprising representatives of the three Abrahamic religions. I believe that if this proposal is put into practice, this city which has been the subject of ongoing conflicts and disputes might become a city of peace, as signified by its name, Jerusalem, which originates from Darussalam, ‘The Land Of Peace’. (Speaking Tree Dec 13, 2017)