Father’s words at his meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro, the Grand Mufti of Syria

Father’s words at his meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro, the Grand Mufti of Syria

Sun Myung Moon
June 1989
Excerpts
Unofficial notes

There are five points needed to restore the world both internally and externally. They are:

1. Ideology

2. Science and technology

3. A centrist political avenue which is capable of uniting both the East Bloc and the “Free” World.

4. Finance

5. Media (which exists for the sake of the world and not for any partisan interests.)

There are two types of knowledge. Internal knowledge, which is knowing God; not merely believing in God, but knowing God, and external knowledge which relates to the true nature of the universe.

I have been working simultaneously in each of these fields towards the goal of ultimately establishing a global information exchange system. I will establish the conditions whereby anyone can obtain information they need at the soonest possible moment. My life has been one of persecution in each of these five fields. Japanese masters of technology opposed me, as did American politicians and German scientists. Wherever there was dominance in any of these five areas was where there was the most opposition, but now things have changed. The only reason why I stayed in the United States as long as I did, was due to my responsibility to become a formidable power in social, financial and media spheres. People who do not understand the will of God automatically assume that I am some kind of dictator.

I am pursuing the equalization of technology throughout the world. Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union should openly share their technology with the third world without reservation, but they have been unwilling to do so. Therefore I had to gain a substantial foundation in these areas myself, and complete the task of sharing.

If I had to pursue my achievements in these five areas as a man, even as a great man, the entire enterprise would have been hopeless. Each and everything, even down to the smallest detail had to be done by the one, absolute, all powerful God. The key point in every endeavor is knowing God truly. No matter how famous I am, if it were not connected with God and God’s will, it would all amount to nothing. Once people truly understand God, everything will be easy. The strongest point of Unificationism is that it teaches God clearly. Whoever studies Unification Thought and understands it, is not under the Unification Church, but under God’s will and direction. The life of faith in our church is not based on blind belief, but on logical and scientific correspondence to experimentation and verification.

God is the vertical center. All Unification members believe that God is the vertical center. My job as the horizontal center is to receive instructions and revelations from God and to distribute them to all of humanity. I must unify the vertical truth of the heart which takes place in religions, to horizontal truth which exists in the fields of philosophy and ideology. God and humanity must be united by heart and become one. Then we can see unification. Unificationism is God’s vertical ideology. Unification teaching is called “Headwing.” It is not left wing or right wing. This is the only way to unite vertical and horizontal.

In order to unite the vertical and horizontal, we need True Love. True Love is the only ideology which we will ever advocate. This will be our message forever. Once human beings know what True Love is, all will have the answer. Because of the power of True Love ideology, the Unification Church could lay this strong foundation in a short time period. If someone were to ask me: “Which would you prefer, being head of the Unification Church or True Love,” my answer would certainly be True Love. Even if someone offered me America, or the entire world, my answer would be without hesitation, True Love. Ultimately, everyone on earth must abandon whatever they like most and pursue True Love. That is the final and fundamental answer for building the Kingdom of Heaven. Even if you asked God, “Would You prefer the universe or True Love?” God would simply answer, “True Love.” True Love ideology is eternal. It is the only ideology which can unite God and this world together.

In October 1988, I matched 6515 couples in Korea. This is a demonstration of True Love power. Japan and Korea were enemies for centuries, but through the power of true love they married willingly. There was not even any opposition from the respective governments, because they knew that only I am capable of doing this without difficulty. When we feel the value of true love, we can feel the value of family life extending to the nation and the world. You see, I am giving you a tip on how you can solve the problems of the Middle East!

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Hastening Peace in the Middle East
Interview of Dr. Frank Kaufmann
Mary Trifault

Question: Could you give a brief summary about the history, goals, and activities of CWR?

I have spoken extensively on this question in a previous interview. For the sake of those who may not have access to those back issues, I will offer a brief summary: The CWR is a natural development in the fulfillment of Father’s vision for the unification of the world’s religions. Father has always invested in projects and avenues leading to the fulfillment of that goal. In Korea, he founded the supra-denominational movement for the unity of Christianity. In the United States, clear evidence of Father’s unwavering commitment to that goal can be seen in the manner in which he fashioned the Unification Theological Seminary. The founding faculty had only one Unificationist among professors of all other religions. On this inter-religious foundation the seminary soon became the scene for a flourishing program of interfaith dialogue, which eventually became established as the New Ecumenical Research Association (New ERA). As the inter-religious activities grew beyond mere research, Father created a foundation to embrace and represent another aspect of his vision, the International Religious Foundation. Our elder brother, the International Cultural Foundation, had already been established as a foundation which addressed the matters of external knowledge: science, arts, culture, and so on. Now the International Religious Foundation would stand as the organization which addressed matters of the heart: religion and God. In 1984, in Seoul, at the fourth conference on “God, the Contemporary Discussion”, Father founded the Council for the World Religions. This branch of IRF would serve to bring together the religious leaders of the world, and to provide for them a forum through which they could unite and speak to the world as the spiritual shepherds of human endeavor.

Following Father’s proclamation of the Council’s existence, the first steps towards implementing the ideal were taken. This consisted of organizing an inter-religious board of advisors, representing the major religions of the world. The most important qualification for membership on this first advisory board was that the person be a confessing member of the faith they were chosen to represent. This group then worked hand-in-hand to establish the spirit upon which the council would pursue its goals and ideals. No step is taken without the unanimous consent of all the representatives of the religions present. The concern for religious harmony led the group, under Father’s guidance, to pursue the ideal on three fronts concurrently: intrareligious conferences, large inter-religious conferences, and regional inter-religious conferences. Intrareligious conferences address the problems arising from the fact that all religions are divided within. World peace cannot be achieved without establishing peaceful relations between sects and denominations within each of the world’s religions. No religion can effectively testify to the power of its teachings if there is hatred and resentment among its members.

The second effort of the CWR concerns the encounter between believers across religions per se. In this area there are two types. The first are large interfaith conferences in which we endeavor to have as many religions as possible present themselves to each other. At these conferences one experiences the infinite variety of God’s love and self- revelation to humanity. The second type of interfaith conference is oriented toward geographical areas in which there are two or more different religions living in close proximity, and who have somehow become embroiled (or are perceived to be embroiled) in the social and political conflict that characterizes that area. Examples of this latter kind would include the Middle East, and the Punjab (in northern India).

Question: Can you tell us about your most recent conference in Turkey?

This fourth CWR conference on Islam is an example of the intrareligious program of the CWR. The theme was “Family and Law in Islam.” This is an important issue for Muslims because the Prophet Muhammad gave very specific and thorough instructions for family and social life. Today, in the modern world, there are many circumstances in which it is virtually impossible for Muslims to uphold their God-given responsibilities. The Muslim response to this quandary is varied. Some say liberalize and accommodate. Others say become more conservative and close out modernity. The options are complex and indicative of one’s broader understanding of Islam itself. Such a conference is designed for Muslims to resolve their differences on these burning issues, or at least learn to love and respect their brothers and sisters who hold differing positions. But it is a long hard road to harmony. Father’s unconditional love gives them a good environment to work out their differences. To this extent the unity of Islam is coming about under Father’s auspices. Not that Father gathers Muslims together to tell them that Islam is wrong and that they should convert. Rather, he is so united with God’s heart, that God’s pain over a divided religion affects Father severely and he is driven to sacrifice his own resources to alleviate this suffering. Participants perceive the Unification presence only as quiet, unconditional giving, which is Father’s trademark.

This particular conference took place in Istanbul, Turkey, which reflects the final aspect of our conferences which I would like to mention here. We try to hold our conferences at sites that are religiously significant to the participants. In this way their gathering is not only for the sake of conversation and intellectual exchange, but also for the sake of making a pilgrimage. Time is given during every conference to visit holy places, and it is through this that important differences can melt away and yield to the realization of harmony.

Question: Were there special points about this conference in particular?

This conference had an outstanding group of participants, people of great sincerity, and several of high public visibility and religious influence. They were level-headed and spoke well to each other. There were times of great intensity and differences of opinion, but even in the most heated and emotional of times, the moderator was adamant to guarantee that every voice had fair opportunity for expression. The fact that many of the participants were first time guests also marks the conference as successful. Many of them are heads of major Muslim organizations, and offered to cooperate with the CWR at the institutional level. This shows that the Council has now achieved the dignity and stature which attracts people who are willing to go beyond offering personal opinions and affirmation, to the level of offering the cooperation of their institution. This involves trust at a much higher level. Without this level of cooperation, the CWR could not effectively perform the vast and highly-entangled task of bringing about inter-religious harmony and cooperation.

Question: We often encounter negative portrayals of Islam. How can someone with a Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, or other non-Muslim background begin to understand the religion of Islam?

Unificationists, above all, must always retain a clear recollection of how the media can effect public opinion about religious phenomena. The negative treatment of Islam has been largely the result of contemporary geopolitics in which Islamic nations have had relations of enmity with the United States.

On the internal level, the Unificationist should look to his or her own sacred literature, the Divine Principle. It is clearly written there that Father teaches that God founded the world’s great religions as His means of guiding his children out of darkness, towards Himself. As a path to God, Islam must be respected. Father instructs us to serve other Christian churches because they have protected His Will throughout Satan-dominated history. God is grateful to Christianity for that, and we serve out of the same gratitude. It should be no different for any of the other world’s true religions. We should also serve Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and so on. These religions have protected God’s children in all the different cultural spheres throughout history. There exists a similar parallel to our own movement on the external level as well. What is the best way to overcome negative portrayals of the Unification Church? I would say talk to an Unificationist. Ask one to explain the meaning of his or her religion in his or her own life. The same with the Muslims. In order to understand their religion, talk to them. If you do not know any Muslims, the next best thing is to read what they themselves have to say about their religion. The Islamic Teaching Institute puts out a simple, clear and informative brochure on the essentials of Islam. I think members should write and request it.

Question: I would like to know something about the background of Mufti Kuftaro who attended this recent conference. Did you see some parallels between his course and Father’s course?

I do believe there are parallels, and at the end of the meeting between Father and the Grand Mufti, Father said something which confirmed my observation. The Grand Mufti endured a course of persecution and suffering because of his devotion to the unity of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. He does not speak about much of his suffering, just as Father does not speak of his deepest suffering. The Mufti also received his call from God in 1945, and much of his life and work for God parallels Father’s. Father is fulfilling those goals to which this man has dedicated his life. There are two ways to respond to such a discovery. One could resent the person who fulfilled the mission to which you were called, and for which you have endured unspeakable suffering. The other would be to rejoice in seeing your ideals flourish. Mufti Kuftaro had the latter response. He is a man of profound humility and spirituality.

He met us for the first time at this recent conference, but he seemed to be led, as if by magic, to understand Father’s position. The CWR film, which was produced by Ron Pacquette, first led him to see the breadth of Father’s vision in the religious world. During the question and answer period on the Unification Movement, which occurred the following morning, Mufti Kuftaro spoke with increasing openness about Father’s mission to the world, and because he had already established himself as the spiritual leader of the conference, his proclamations commanded serious attention. At the end of that session Mufti Kuftaro openly requested the opportunity to meet Father. By God’s blessing arrangements were made and Father was very receptive, agreeing to have dinner with the Grand Mufti.

Question: What kind of position does Mufti Kuftaro have?

Each Muslim nation has a Grand Mufti. The position is that of the highest religious authority in the land. A Grand Mufti’s relationship to the nation’s political leader depends on how Islam is interpreted in that particular nation. A Mufti can dominate the political scene, work in cooperation with the political leader, or even possibly be at odds with the political leader. But in a Muslim nation, political leaders are very dependent on the cooperation of the religious leaders. It is necessary in order for them to secure the support of the people.

Question: Could you tell us how the meeting was?

Father set the meeting for dinner. Mr. Peter Kim was extremely helpful in the preparations, and acted as Father’s translator during the time of the audience. Mr. Kim functioned as a mediator for both parties so that by his effort, both the True Parents and Mufti Kuftaro knew what to expect. East Garden sent down a car and brought us to the door of the new conference center there. Our arrival was radioed ahead of time, so that a reception line was ready when we got there. Because the Mufti walks slowly with a cane, there must have been some added suspense among those who waited, wondering why the car was there but the guest was so long in actually getting into the building. I walked in slightly ahead, prepared to assist with the introduction. As I entered, I saw that the reception line was set very formally and with great dignity, but as soon as Mufti Kuftaro peeked around the corner and saw Father, he burst out into a happy greeting, and the two men embraced as if it were the reunion of old friends. Father then introduced him to Mother and others on the line. Father meets with many people of great stature, but he is most joyful when he meets with a man of God.

We immediately went into the drawing room. There were a few brief exchanges in preparation for the moment when each one could present himself more fully. Mufti Kuftaro was the first to speak at length. He spoke with humility, yet at the same time revealed himself to be a man of global significance and influence. There were moments when I was nervous, thinking that he might try just to tell Father how great he is. As it turned out, he only made this long presentation so that the significance of his willingness to cooperate with Father could be properly understood.

Following Mufti Kaftaru’s lovely remarks, Father spoke for approximately 45 minutes. His remarks were succinct, clear, and ingenious. I have listened to perhaps hundreds of hours of Father’s sermons, but I have never been so overwhelmed by the clarity and magnitude of Father’s vision as I was that night. Father went over the line of what a narrow-minded Muslim could possibly accept. He seemed to be saying, You say you are willing to cooperate with me, but this is what I believe about myself and my mission, now what do you think? He even gave specific advice on what is needed if there is to be hope of peace in the Middle East. At the end of this homily Father asked, just in the same way that he speaks to our members, “Can you do that?… Do you promise?” Mr. Kim seemed a bit nervous to translate, and others there laughed nervously. Father insisted, and when the Mufti heard the request translated into his own tongue (Arabic}, he put his hand on his heart and said, “It’s my duty.” At this point Father stood up, came across the room with hand outstretched and embraced him. They exchanged gifts and soon went in to dinner, where the evening lingered with an abundance of intimacy and joyousness. Father had the leaders present give reports of his international activities, and gave Mufti Kuftaro and his translator several beautiful gifts. One could feel God’s warm embrace present. At the end of the meal, Father said, “When you’re persecuted alone, life is most desolate and you feel you lose strength. But when you find another who has been persecuted for the same reasons, you find a lifelong friend, and your persecution becomes a source of strength.”

As they left, Mufti Kuftaro insisted that Father not come out in the rain. Father insisted on coming out, showing him his sandals, like a boy with new shoes, explaining that they were waterproof, and splashed out through the puddles and stood in the rain waving good-bye into the window where the Mufti sat.

I think important developments in God’s providence are involved here. Mufti Kuftaro is a vital figure in the Muslim world, and because of his position as a peacemaker, in a geopolitically significant nation (Syria) not particularly known for making peace, he has also become important beyond the world of Islam. He works with the governments of both superpowers, as well as with top religious leaders from non-Islamic religions. During their conversation, Father said, “I believe this to be a historical meeting. If we cooperate, we can hasten the coming of peace in the Middle East.”

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Family and Law in Islam
Chung Hwan Kwak
May 17-21, 1989

Council for the World’s Religions conference on “Family and Law in Islam” in Istanbul, Turkey

Esteemed guests, venerable spiritual leaders, honored scholars, pioneers in the path of interfaith harmony. I am delighted to welcome you to this fourth international conference on Islamic unity. I am convinced that there is no more important task for the cause of world peace than the realization of harmony and cooperation among religious believers. Religious and ideological harmony is at the core of world peace, because religions and ideologies guide a person’s internal dimension, the orientation of heart and mind. The power to move people’s minds to overcome anger and resentment, to be tolerant of each other’s faults and to strive for impartiality and compassion has to come through religion. God is the source of all the ideals that make for peace. And God has revealed these ideals to humankind through religion. When a person truly finds God in the core of the self, all hatred and prejudice perish.

Religious leaders are the true internal leaders of the world. You hold the key to real peace. If the religious leaders of any two warring nations came together and declared that their religions forbade their fighting with one another, could war continue for long? But sadly, few religions have the courage and authority to challenge politicians who inflame religious prejudice for selfish ends. We see some religious leaders using God’s name for their narrow goals, sowing mistrust of others. Some religious leaders follow the lead of politicians as though religion were merely a support for popular nationalistic causes. Hence, religion itself becomes debased and loses its spiritual power. It ceases to be a way to reach the ideals of transcendent reality and becomes merely an expression of ethnicity.

Conditions for Peace
Peace cannot be dictated by external conditions. It must spring from the internal attitudes of people’s minds. Internally, the peoples of the world are still far apart. We are beset by prejudices and fears of all kinds: racism, nationalism, religious sectarianism, cultural bias, economic jealousy and so on. The barriers that our self-centered minds erect against one another may become even higher and more threatening as external circumstances thrust us physically closer together. This situation is potentially very dangerous.

You have come here to discuss a truly pressing issue, Family and Law in Islam. Why is this so crucial? This is because Islam is one of the most powerful and widespread religions in the world. It is one of the great world’s religions that has instructions for interfaith harmony imbedded in its revealed scriptures. It penetrates deeply into the lives of individuals and families in Islam as well as into the societies in which it is practiced. The family is the pillar of all that is good. Through the family, love is practiced, human beings are educated in goodness and the love of God and society is perpetuated. Islam defines all family roles in the context of religious responsibility and the love of God. If there is strife and division regarding this most important area of life, the consequences are grave. In all the world around us, the family is threatened. Let the people of God become one at least in this one indispensable area of life. For this reason, every moment you spend here is precious. May God bless your work here.

You who are gathered here show by your very presence your conviction that our world cannot afford to abandon the precious spiritual truths that have been embodied and preserved in the world’s religious traditions. But how can religion have the power to bring peace to the world? In his keynote address at the 1985 Assembly of the World’s Religions, Rev. Moon called for a new movement to revitalize and strengthen the spirit of each religion. This will not be a movement from outside preaching to each religion that it must change its ways. Rather, I am convinced that each religion has within itself the resources to recover its original vitality and spirit. I believe that even now God is moving within each religion, stimulating men and women with sensitive souls and pure hearts to reawaken their faith.

The founders of each of the world’s religions were people inspired and led by God. They had intense faith and zeal to uncover the truth. They endured trials and spiritual struggles along the way. They sought to relieve the suffering of humanity, disregarding their own lives. Therefore God trusted them and revealed to them His deepest heart. Each religion should recover the pure spirit of the founder, the spirit of single-hearted devotion to God and service to humanity.

If religious leaders can achieve this level, they will shine among the people of their age. They cannot be bought or swayed by social pressure. They will not compromise themselves and their religions by greed and selfish behavior. They will manifest the spirit of God in every deed. Likewise, if leadership and the reactions to the leadership of others is undertaken with this spirit, how can it fail to inspire? Those who are guided in this way will experience transcendence, bliss and the holy presence of God.

Our Precious Brothers and Sisters
When we look upon the efforts of our brothers and sisters in other traditions suffering, sacrificing, and taking upon themselves the great burden of responsibility for the spiritual lives of the faithful, we cannot help but love them. If you are a religious leader or a devotee yourself, how can you fail to recognize beauty in the lives of those who voluntarily take upon themselves such noble devotion an hardship, even if they have certain important differences? Today’s situation requires men and women of vision to comprehend the entire world as one.

While each religion or denomination originated in a restricted cultural environment, the modern environment for all cultures and religious expressions extends to the entire globe. What do you think the founder of your religion would be teaching if he were born in this century? Would he not be dealing with the situation of modern man? The sufferings that afflict humanity today have their own distinct form. Their situations call for specific programs and policies. The ecumenical movement is one expression of what is needed in this age. Would the essence of your tradition deny or affirm it? No religion or denomination stands alone before God. All stand together before their common Divine source.

I would like to suggest that seeking ways to establish harmonious and mutually supportive relations between the various expressions of God’s great goodness as embodied in the various expressions of Islam, is one indispensable purpose of the religion. God’s purpose is for religious harmony and cooperation so that religions and denominations can lead the way as internal leaders for an emerging world civilization. The conference, dialogues and social service projects sponsored by the International Religious Foundation exist to foster this purpose. We hope that the ongoing activity will eventually lead to cooperation and coordination between the major world’s religious bodies for the cause of world peace and harmony. When religious communities join together to fulfill their responsibility to humanity, they will lead the way to world peace.

With this in mind, I thank you deeply for your participation in this conference. I encourage you to contribute to the goals and spirit of the Council for the World’s Religions and affiliated projects of the International Religious Foundation. We seek your ideas, your suggestions and your commitment to the realization of these goals. May God bless you. Thank you very much.