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Faith Leaders in Mauritius Highlight Value of Religion to Society amid Life’s Challenges

Logo of the Council of Religions (CoR) in Mauritius. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Faith-based leaders in the Indian Ocean Island nation of Mauritius have highlighted the value of religion to society amid challenges of life

In their message ahead of World Day of Religion marked January 16,  members of the Council of Religions (CoR) in Mauritius say, “Religion plays a key role in society, especially in difficult times and brings comfort and hope to the lonely and suffering.”

“The last 28 months of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the fragility of society, even in the most industrialized and affluent regions where savings, travel, sport and most forms of social interaction have come to a halt, and where the health care infrastructure is under unprecedented pressure outside of a war context,” CoR members say in their statement issued Friday, January 14.

“Now, more than ever, humanity and our country need religion to bring communities together in mutual love and cooperation to get through this crisis and create a safer and more just world,” they further say. 

The faith-based leaders highlight basic principles that cut across religions. 

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“All religions have fairly similar concepts about the Creator, the purpose of life, life after death, our place in the Universe, sacrifice and many other concepts that help us regulate society for the greater good,” CoR members say in their message.

Initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States, World Day of Religion seeks to promote understanding and peace between all religions, encouraging people to learn about other faiths and their followers. 

This year’s celebration is to be marked under the theme, “One Common Faith.”

In their January 14 message obtained by ACI Africa, members of CoR highlight some effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the population.

“Social interactions have become largely virtual, and the growing sense of hopelessness, isolation, loneliness, frustration and panic is causing a tsunami of mental health problems,” they lament, and add, “The virus has also highlighted the disparities in wealth and poverty in every country, whether in cities, villages or rural areas.”

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CoR members further say, “The progress we thought we were making on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is being put to the test in the areas of food security, poverty and global health care.”

They also point out the effects of climate change in the world, saying, “Conversely, calls for urgent action on climate suggest positive change as an unintended consequence of the pandemic.” 

In this context, members of CoR note that “the role and need for religion and understanding our position in the universe, and with our Creator, has become clearer.”

“There is now a growing chasm of wealth between the rich and the poor. Yet many religions provide a plan to help us eradicate poverty and food insecurity,” religious leaders in Mauritius say.

They add, “There were so many positive stories of people volunteering to support their families, neighbors, the homeless, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. In many areas, societies are reconnecting and families are also reconnecting through the virtual boom.”

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“Nations, too, must take care and work on the basis of truth, honesty, fairness and justice. Just as they expect their citizens to be kind and forgiving in these difficult times, they must adopt the same attitude in their international affairs,” CoR members further say.

They continue, “Where there are tensions, our leaders must practice tolerance, defuse conflict and eradicate persecution at local, national and global levels.”

The religious leaders go on to appeal for solidarity saying, “Everyone should offer sympathy and compassion and be willing to serve others without expectation, just as a mother serves and nurtures her child selflessly without any desire for reward.”  

“This is the altruistic and benevolent spirit that religions teach, and when applied, this principle breaks down the walls of distrust and even hatred that have been erected all around us,” religious leaders in the Indian Ocean Island nation say.

Solidarity, they add, “will break down the barriers that divide humanity. It is the key to peace at the personal level, within the wider society and at the international level.”

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