African religious leaders come together to pray for peace during COVID-19

Religious leaders from various faiths gathered on September 26th for an online interfaith event to unite in prayer for the work of peace amid the pandemic and for the eradication of COVID-19.

The prayer meeting was attended by hundreds of people and came as the United Nations marked its 75th anniversary during International Peace Month. Faith leaders from the Hare Krishna, Christianity, Spiritual Consciousness, and African Religion movements joined Heavenly Culture World Peace and Restoration of Light (HWPL) to hold the event.

Reverend Berry Behr of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative

“When we work together like that, it takes away any thought of disagreement, warfare, and the violence that can become endemic when we are so afraid,” said Reverend Berry Behr of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, human rights violations have increased drastically across the world. When the virus struck Africa, it led to an increased vulnerability to other diseases, gender-based violence, deepened inequalities, and violent extremism in countries such as Mozambique. Pastor Chiwa, a Christian pastor from Zimbabwe, noted the need to address the violent extremism and brutality that is threatening the peace in Africa.

“We are in dire need of the intervention of God when it comes to the brutality and issues happening on our African continent,” said Pastor Chiwa. “I pray that the hand of God, the Supreme Father, would intervene and put a sense in the mindsets of our leaders, military, and every sector that has to do with peace in Africa.”

Among the leaders who led the prayers were Hajj Abdulmalik Molapo from the Muslim community, Sister Dipty from Brahma Kumaris, Guru Medhavi Das from Hare Krishna, Inalda de Jorge-Antonio from Spiritual Consciousness, and Hindu leader Swami Vedanand.

Swami Vedanand Saraswati

“If we as faith leaders are taking the lead and leading our continent, we will realize we are not a dark continent,” said Reverend Phumzile Stofile, the Vice Chairperson of the ANC Chaplaincy Western Cape in South Africa. “We are a bright continent. We just need focused spiritual leadership because it is the moral compass that directs nations.”

The virtual prayer meeting not only connected interfaith leaders in Africa but also leaders in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Switzerland. Members of civil society, youth, and members of various religions were also in attendance.

HWPL has held Interfaith Dialogue Meetings, known as WARP Office Meetings, attended by over 700 religious leaders, more than 250 times. The meetings are hosted monthly with the aim of preventing conflicts caused by religious misunderstandings by discussing the teachings of various religions and examining the concept of peace in each scripture.