Peres Pitches Pope 'UN of Religions' to Battle Terrorism

Retired Israeli president meets leader of Catholic Church in Rome, says religion is the trigger for world conflicts.

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Pope Francis meets with former Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, on the occasion of their private meeting at the Vatican, Sept. 4, 2014.
Pope Francis meets with former Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, on the occasion of their private meeting at the Vatican, Sept. 4, 2014.Credit: AP

Retired Israeli President Shimon Peres has proposed a new global peace initiative to Pope Francis: A "United Nations of Religions," given that most wars today have religious, not nationalistic, undercurrents.

The Vatican said Peres pitched the initiative during a 45-minute audience on Thursday in the Apostolic Palace. The motivation, Peres told the Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana, is that religion is the prime trigger for world conflicts today.

“The UN has had its time,” Peres said, according to Famiglia Cristiana. “What we need is an organization of United Religions, the UN of religions. It would be the best way to combat these terrorists who kill in the name of their faith because most people are not like them, they practice their religions without killing anyone, without even thinking about it.”

The Vatican news service said the pope “listened attentively and with interest” to Peres’ proposal.

The two men last met when Francis invited the then-Israeli president and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace together in the Vatican gardens on June 8.

A few weeks later, war broke out between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip.

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