perspectives on the
Daisaku Ikeda, president
Soka Gakkai International SGI. Tokyo
From articles in the Seikyo Shimbun, September 16
Ignorance is a dangerous thing. Without factual
knowledge, stereotypes and the imagery they spawn
invariably assume a momentum of their own, proliferating
out of control.
Just because the perpetrators of the appalling
terrorist attacks are believed to be of Arab descent, I
pray that people will not immediately jump to the
conclusion that all Arabs are dangerous and that Islam
encourages violence. It is in no way true that all 1.2
billion Muslims in the world are violent. Even the recent
revival of Islam, which is sometimes confused with
Islamic fundamentalism, is not a monolithic mass
movement. The extremists constitute a very small
minority; the vast majority are moderates.
Obviously, every act of terrorism is reprehensible and
wrong, regardless of its motive. Yet we absolutely must
not treat terrorism as an inevitable consequence of faith
in the tenets of Islam.
The Middle East issue is one in which the Palestinian
issue, the Gulf War and vested interests in the oil
industry and military-industrial complexes have become
entangled with other factors in a massive and complicated
snarl. To view this as a conflict between good and evil
is simplistic and dangerous.
Humankind will never see the light of peace as long as
one party seeks to subjugate the other by force, both
sides caught in a vicious cycle of reprisals that exacts
an eye for an eye, a life for a life.
It is because we cherish and admire the values and
ideals of Western civilization that we urge humanity to
resolutely pursue the path of nonviolence which is truly
worthy of the civilized world.
We insist that a just and equitable international
tribunal be established to try those responsible for acts
of war and terrorism.
We insist that every effort be rendered so as to
transform distrust into trust. I believe this is the most
effective and fundamental antidote against terrorism and
its repugnant worship of violence.
The importance of dialogue cannot be overstated.
Nothing must be allowed to impinge upon its free
exchange. For unless we put an end to an era dictated by
sheer force of arms, the 21st century will be no
different from the 20th, and we will regress once more
into a century of war.
Sept 16, 2001
There are a number of short-term measures that may be
implemented to combat violence and terrorism, but the
only viable and fundamental long-term solution is
education. There is no other alternative but to
educate people on the loftiest humanitarian values and
views of life in order to establish a foundation of peace
and stability for humankind in these times of tumultuous
change. What we must strive to bring about is a century
upholding the dignity of life, a century predicated upon
Sept 17, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Soka Gakkai International.
All rights reserved.
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