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August 12, 2017, 10:25 PM

In Light of Violence in Charlottesville

We are heartbroken about the events that are unfolding in #Charlottesville. We stand against the ideology and harmful actions of white supremacy. We stand against any and all acts of violence.

In the United Religions Initiative community, we believe there is a better way. We stand firmly in our organizational charter, which is affirmed by nearly 100 members organizations across the U.S., and hundreds more around the world. Today, we reaffirm the values contained in this document, which include a commitment to practice healing and reconciliation to resolve conflict without resorting to violence, to not discriminate and to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community.

In this difficult time, we encourage communities around the United States to provide places for nonviolent gatherings to continue to build cultures of peace, justice, and healing for all people.


Messages of support from our global community:

Thank you for these words. May we all find peace and healing.

Sending prayers for safety,

Fred Fielding, URI Global Council Trustee (US)


Thank you too for the message!! May peace prevail on Earth!!

Salette Aquino, URI Global Council Trustee (Brazil)


Thank you for your well-chosen words. I forgot to notice that Charlottesville is geographically so close to where you are. I've been hearing/reading lots of news and commentary about this weekend's incidents, as well as about the groundswell of vigils and gatherings in response (more than 750 in the US). My partner Charlie and I joined a silent candlelight vigil on Saturday in SF. I also noticed this interfaith group in Charlottesville, and wonder whether they're part of the URI network.

--Myra Levy, URI Global Support Staff (US)


Dear sisters and brothers in the USA, we are with you in prayer for an end to this hatred and violence. We join our voices to all those calling for calm and for the building of peace in our communities.

Today we mark the birth of Lord Krishna which is symbolic of the victory of light over darkness. Let us pray that this light brings harmony and prosperity to all.

In peace and prayer, Kiran Bali, MBE JP, URI Global Council Chair (UK)


Greetings of peace and blessing from URI-Africa. Thank you so much for your message and we stand with you against hate speech and all acts of violence and discrimination.

On behalf of URI-Africa and Global Interfaith Network for Golden Rule CC I would like to join with you in prayer and action to provide places for nonviolent gatherings to continue to build cultures of peace, justice, and healing for all people.

Every human being without distinction of age, sex, race, skin color, physical or mental ability, language, religion, political view, or national or social origin possesses an inalienable and untouchable human dignity. We need to honor this dignity and protect it.

There is a principle which is found and has persisted in many religious and ethical traditions of humankind for thousands of years which will help to promote peaceful co-existence and make human dignity a reality and that is -The Golden Rule which says: “What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others”. In other words: “What you wish done to yourself, do to others”! This should be the irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races, nations, and religions.

The principle of Golden Rule implies very concrete standards to which we humans should hold firm. Violence should not be a means of settling differences with others. We must recognize that in the midst of magnificent diversity of cultures, religions, ethnicities and race we are part of one human family with a common destiny.

Hence, we must join hands together, now more than ever, to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on a Global Ethic based on the teaching of the Golden Rule. To reflect on the Golden Rule is to reflect from the perspective of universal wisdom and a Global Ethic.

The Golden Rule is not just a moral ideal for relationships between people but also for relationships among nations, cultures, races, sexes, economies and religions. Clearly, the Golden Rule has the capacity to be the ethical cornerstone in developing a Global Ethic as we work together as member of URI to build a peaceful, just and sustainable global society free from hate, violence and discrimination. May Peace Prevail on Earth.  

In peace and gratitude, 

Mussie Hailu, Global Envoy of URI and Continental Coordinator for URI-Africa


Dear Sisters and Brothers of URI,

Yesterday, I returned to San Francisco from Rwanda to the news of the terror and atrocities in Charlottesville, Virginia in the United States. A day ago I was in a country (Rwanda) recovering from civil war and genocide and aspiring to build a society with “Unity in Diversity” as its central ethic. Today I am in a country (the United States) whose motto “E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One” is being made a mockery of by a president encouraging his country to relive its civil war as he promotes division and hate among its citizens. Principle 7 of the URI Charter states, "We seek and welcome the gift of diversity and model practices that do not discriminate." This statement was released by the San Francisco Interfaith Council, a URI Cooperation Circle. It is a powerful statement about valuing diversity, standing up against hate and acting on behalf of love and justice. The Preamble of URI's Charter calls us to action in moments such as these. "We unite to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community." May we as people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and Indigenous traditions throughout the world unite to confront the politics of hate wherever it may appear and work tirelessly to promote cultures of peace, justice and healing throughout the world.

In peace... Victor Kazanjian, URI Executive Director 

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