UN Religious Meeting Blames Religion for Terror Attack on US

NEW YORK, Oct 12, 01 (CWNews.com) - The founder of the United Religions Initiative, a movement that seeks to become the dominant religious voice at the UN, blamed religion for the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

At a Wednesday meeting at the UN Church Center, the Episcopal Bishop of San Francisco, William E. Swing, asserted that the hijackers did not hold a corrupted version of Islam because religions-- all religions-- are guilty of fostering terrorism. "There is a lot of terror and violence in a lot of scripture. There has to be a critique of that. We have to hold the religions' feet to the fire for the violence and terror within them."

Swing said, "The nations of the world have met every day for the past fifty years, the religions of the world have not. Who is more moral, the nations of the world or the religions of the world?" URI seeks to create a permanent body of religious ambassadors-- a parallel organization to the UN-- to address the problem of "fundamentalists in our own groups," an issue that traditional religion "wimps out on." Swing proclaimed that, in light of the terrorist attack, "It's a new day for inter-religious activity in the United States."

Other participants at the meeting criticized either religion or capitalism. One person said, "The problem is religion-- the whole concept of religion that requires conformity. The truth is different for every individual." Another claimed, "All religions have fanatical elements, we must delete those elements from scripture." Still another said, "The underlying causes are economic. We want more oil and bigger cars." Swing agreed, repeatedly saying "we must address the brokenness at the root of the terrorist attacks by bridging the chasm between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots.'" One participant wondered "how we can have a heart to heart dialogue with the terrorists."

Giandomenico Picco, former UN Under-Secretary General, recounted his experiences dealing with terrorists in Lebanon and Afghanistan. Picco grew increasingly exasperated by the comments of Swing and the other participants. Picco said the terrorists engaged in a "hijacking of Islam, a hijacking of ideas." Picco also said, "Collective responsibility is baloney-- there is individual responsibility for actions or no responsibility at all. ... Why did they do it? Because they are wrong, they are criminals." According to Picco, the real "chasm" Swing referred to is not between rich and poor, but between "those willing to kill innocent people and those not willing to kill innocent people."

URI was founded in 1995 and is active in 58 countries. Along with Protestants and disaffected Catholics, URI includes witches, Druids, and members of New Age movements. Swing himself is hostile to traditional and conservative faiths, once saying that "proselytizing will be illegal in the United Religions zone," an area he says he wants to create. The Vatican has condemned URI for syncretism, which is the blending together of elements of all religions.

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
12. oktober 2001

av Webmaster publisert 15.10.2001, sist endret 15.10.2001 - 17:29