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30 NZers Return From Middle East Peace Initiative

Peace, Shalom, Salaam Alekum

Over the weekend most of the thirty New Zealand delegates to the Middle East Peace Initiative returned from the Holy Lands not only enriched with the prospect of peace for Israel and Palestine but also equipped with fresh ideas for promoting harmony in Aotearoa and the Pacific.

Over one hundred and eighty participants from the regions of Oceania, Japan and Africa, some of them distinguished statesmen and clergy such as Hon. Ati George Sokomanu, former first President of Vanuatu and Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum, Sir Toaripi Lauti, first Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hon David Clarke, New South Wales Upper House of Parliament member and Pastor Pakoa B Maraki, Secretary of the Vanuatu Council of Churches, enthusiastically participated in the eighth Pilgrimage Programme designed to maximise interfaith unity and understanding.

The Middle East Peace Initiative, inspired by the vision of its founder, Rev Sun Myung Moon, has established a massive mobilisation through its supporting organisation, The International and Interreligious Federation For World Peace, that is enjoying unprecedented success in bringing Muslim, Christian, Druze and Jewish leaders into dialogue and brotherhood in Israel.

Palestininan Authority President Yasser Arafat has lauded the efforts of these peacemakers from around the world spreading the message that the three major religions of the Middle East, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam originate from the same family of Abraham and essentially teach identical principles of love for God, family, nation and world.

Imam Katani of the Nazareth district, Shiek Ali Barani of the Druze community in Northern Galilee and others have already started bestowing the Holy Blessing on marriage and family that Rev Moon has become world famous for. Through this Blessing, couples pledge eternal fidelity to one another and absolute love between parents and children.

The twelve day tour of the Holy Lands included highlights such as the March For Peace through the old city of Jerusalem to the Western Wall of the Temple, the holiest place of prayer for Jews today, the joyous meeting with members of the Greek Orthodox church in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the Marriage Blessing Ceremony with Iranian Jews in Jerusalem and the procession through the streets of Nazareth with Father Hatoom and the members of the Catholic Diocese of Jerusalem on the feast day of Mother Mary.

World Peace Pilgrimages are ongoing events and the public are invited to join in or seek further information Rev Geoff Fyers: 0800 TRUELOVE

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