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Some Thoughts about the Terrorist Actions Against the United States
A Message of Condolence
September 2001

On the 11th of September, violent acts of terrorism were carried out against the United States of America simultaneously at the World Trade Center buildings in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. On the following day, the members of the International Governing Board of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP), including El Hassan bin Talal, moderator of the WCRP and prince of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, issued an urgent appeal by means of a statement entitled "Religious Leaders Worldwide Condemn Terrorist Actions against U.S.-Plea for Understanding among People of All Faiths." I wholeheartedly concur with the views expressed in that statement.

These latest acts of terrorism resulted in a horrifying disaster in which thousands of people died or remain missing. The terrifying scenes unfolding before our eyes on our television screens left us speechless with shock. I would like to humbly offer my prayers of deepest sympathy for all those whose lives were needlessly sacrificed, and also to extend my condolences and respectfully join their families and friends in mourning them. I also offer my heartfelt prayers that the fate of those still missing can be confirmed as soon as possible.

These suicide-terrorists employing commercial airliners as weapons of mass destruction have far too facilely crushed the dignity of human life into the dirt. Whatever their reasons may have been, such acts can never be forgiven. Because the lives of so many ordinary people of different nationalities were sacrificed, not only Americans but citizens of countries around the world are united in their indignation.

At the same time, however, I venture to say that to become carried away by emotion and oppose violence with further violence will, as history has shown, only give rise to a never-ending cycle of violence. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha teaches us: "Hatred is never conquered by hatred; hatred can only be conquered by nonhatred." To accomplish this will be difficult, but as we move ahead in the new century we must transcend the desire for revenge and retaliation and grope toward measures that call for religious wisdom.

The twentieth century has been called "the century of war" or "the century of strife." At the early stages of the twenty-first century, humanity renewed its vow to make it "the century of coexistence" and "the century of love and compassion." Largely through the World Conference on Religion and Peace, Rissho Kosei-kai has worked with dedication toward the goal of realizing world peace through dialogue and cooperation among the world's religions. I believe these latest acts of terrorism clearly show that progress until now in this religious dialogue and cooperation has been insufficient.

Rissho Kosei-kai's position is that, in order to avoid rendering futile the suffering of the victims and to ensure that they will not be forgotten, we will make even greater efforts to achieve genuine religious dialogue and cooperation so that we can build a "century of coexistence" that transcends differences in nationality, religion, ethnic background, and culture. While sharing in the sorrow of the American people, who have suffered severe injury to mind and body, all the members of Rissho Kosei-kai everywhere respectfully offer their sincere prayers that safe conditions and the means to enjoy normal lives will return to the stricken areas as soon as possible.

Nichiko Niwano
President
Rissho Kosei-kai 


 

 
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