The Words of the Mian Family

Reverend Moon: A Humanist without Parallel in Contemporary History

Shahjahan Mian
Chief News Editor, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

It is always good to travel to gather knowledge and know people of different races, religion, cultures and customs. It’s a means to quench one’s thirst for learning. More than fourteen hundred years ago our beloved Prophet Mohammad, peace be on him, also advised his people in the then Arab land, if needed, to go as far as China in quest of knowledge and learning. Pursuit of knowledge enriches one’s mind and mental faculty and broadens one’s intellectual horizon.

As a journalist, I had the opportunity to visit a good number of countries around the world, sometimes on assignment by my office, sometimes on invitation from foreign countries and once on a scholarship to study journalism in what was then West Germany. I also had a stint as a senior diplomat in the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. Working as chief of the press wing of an embassy provided me with the opportunity to interact with American journalists to champion my country to the American people. It also enabled me to get to know the United States, the only superpower of the world, and its people. I met people from all walks of life, including government officials and important private individuals, at close range.

As I was not a career diplomat, I took an interest in getting to know people as part of my personal quest for acquaintance with different classes of people in American society. Some of them became good friends. My country’s interests reigned supreme in me while cultivating friendship with the journalists of The Washington Times.

With permission from the embassy, I attended some functions in Washington, D.C., organized by various organizations established by Reverend Sun Myung Moon. My humble writing so far may have appeared a bit inconsistent to the readers, but I would like to assure them that this is really very consistent with what I would like to write about the fascinating person I heard a lot about while I was in the U.S. capital.

Some people appeared a bit critical about the man who wields authority and exercises considerable clout in the U.S. political arena and intellectual circles. I did not have a chance to meet Reverend Moon personally, but I had the opportunity to hear him speak at functions I attended.

A prolific orator, Reverend Moon has the power to keep his audience spellbound. Every time I heard him, I was overwhelmed by the flair and fervor of his speech. He is a leader, a thinker, and a friend of the poor. He incarnates all the virtues and qualities of a religious leader dedicated to God’s will with sublime devotion.

For more than fifty years Reverend Moon has been teaching how God’s will and desire are implemented through true families. Like saints and sages, the main feature of his life is that he puts into practice everything he teaches. His ideals have inspired millions of families across the world in their marriage and family life.

I came to learn that Reverend Moon, who was born in 1920, met Jesus Christ in his prayer when he was only sixteen. And ever since, Moon lived his life “in connection with the word of God.” His wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who has followed her husband like a shadow, is a most loyal partner who was the inspiration for the unbounded happiness of their family life.…

Before I venture to write something about Reverend Moon’s contributions to the realm of journalism and his keen desire for its development, as a journalist I would like to throw some light on his activities in at least a couple of the dozen other areas where he has tried selflessly to do something worthwhile for humankind, bearing testimony to his portrayal as an incarnation of goodness.

It is well known to all of us that family is the starting point of all activities. It is the first school of learning. Children, the future citizens, are primarily groomed in the family. Family is the building block of a nation and the world at large. That Reverend Moon attaches due importance to this basic fact that family is fundamental to our every success gives credence to his foresight as a social leader. He vividly saw in his vision the universal truth that “the family is the foundation of society and its strength and well-being are essential to the well-being of our social, political, economic, and civil institutions.” Because when the family fails to deliver the goods, everything else around fails, multiplying our miseries.

Strengthening family ties and protecting the social fabric are vital in today’s trouble-torn world. Reverend Moon’s relentless work toward this end speaks of his love for humanity. Who else is there like him in the world to spend money so lavishly for the sake of humanity? His mass marriages, one of which I attended at Washington’s RFK Stadium in November 1997, are a glowing example of how compassionately he cares for the welfare of the poor and the unfortunate.

I can’t help but say something on another area that witnessed enormous contributions by Reverend Moon. True, religion has its root in the human heart, but it has also been identified since time immemorial as the root cause of conflicts. Many believe that nothing has caused so much blood to be shed in the world as religion. As a God-fearing man and a Muslim, I must say that this has happened because of some people who are very conservative in their attitude and behavior. Maybe this situation influenced Reverend Moon to form a world forum to work for lasting peace for the people of different religions, sects, castes and creeds.

The establishment of the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) by Reverend Moon and Mrs. Moon in 1999 was aimed at building an effective worldwide network of leaders from different fields to work in a united way for world peace. Reverend Moon sees violence as an outburst of deeper internal conflicts. Hence his attention was drawn to the basic question of inter-religious harmony and cooperation and interaction among political, religious, social and media leaders as well as academics and scholars to promote peace throughout the world. The aims and objectives enunciated by him to promote world peace through moral education of youth, inter-religious dialogue and the strengthening of marriages and families caught the imagination of the world leaders. IIFWP’s mission of “living for the sake of others” and its motto “the hope of all ages is a unified world of peace” have rekindled hope for achieving durable peace. His assertion that world peace is the original ideal of God and that religious leaders should walk beyond the boundaries of their religion bear great significance at this moment.…

The new millennium dawned with a renewed hope for humanity. But at its start the fiends bared their fangs and unleashed a brutal attack on the Twin Towers in New York, causing the tragic deaths of several thousand innocent people on September 11, 2001.

The role of an effective press cannot be exaggerated. And the need is all the more felt now. The might of the press transcends all boundaries. If needed, it can rise as one and speak with one voice. As in some other areas, the media is a major field where Reverend Moon turned his attention. Reverend Moon is primarily a religious leader, but his work has not been confined to religious aspects. Tremendous interest in the media grew in his versatile mind, and he has established many newspapers and publishing houses since 1975.

As part of his keen interest in objective journalism he founded newspapers like The Washington Times; the weekly news magazine Insight; an academic journal The World and I; Segye Times in Korea; Sekai Nippo in Japan; Ultimas Noticias in Uruguay; Tiempos del Mundo in 16 Spanish-speaking countries and the United States; Noticias del Mundo in New York City; and the Middle East Times.…

In today’s world, the media are powerful. People have a natural tendency to depend on them. Apart from getting information, people like to be educated and enlightened by the comments made both by the print and electronic media. They want to see media as a guide.

Information is a basic human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every individual, transcending the limitation of sovereignty, should be able “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through media regardless of frontiers.” Information has always been a basic tool of human societies from ancient times to the present. It is also knowledge, and knowledge is a prerequisite to attaining the objectives of life. Distorted, biased, or one-sided information cannot help mankind become free. Although imperialism in its direct form has made its exit from the world, its hands of exploitation continue to exist.

Maybe these aspects were perceived by Reverend Moon’s innate genius. In any case, he not only publishes newspapers but founded an organization named World Media Association with a view to strengthening issues related to journalistic ethics and responsibilities throughout the world. This emanated from the heart of a man dedicated to improving conditions.

Being a man completely from a different world -- preaching religious edicts or talking on moral matters -- he was quick to take into consideration the power of the press and also its moral obligations to the people. And this may be one reason why The Washington Times is doing well now, even though it is competing with a much older daily in the U.S. capital. Other newspapers established by him are also doing well. Among them, Segye Times achieved a circulation of more than one million just two months after it began publication in early 1989.

To my knowledge, the World Media Association is a unique organization that cares much about the welfare of journalists. By organizing tours and visits for media personnel throughout the world, the WMA provided them with the opportunity to get firsthand experience of hot spots. Reverend Moon realized the indispensable role of the media in ensuring peace in this strife-torn world. Peace is central to his soul, and achieving peace is the main aim of his life. His life centers around the attainment of peace for all. The passion behind his idea of sound families is peace. His ideology of inter-religious dialogue and interaction is peace. Peace is his prime objective. Peace is embedded in his every work, program and policy. It’s no pretense. This is something natural emanating from the bottom of his heart as spontaneously as soothing drops of rain. All of his activities in different fields and various directions flow to the ultimate course -- the confluence of peace.

Reverend Moon said the WMA was created in 1978 to promote free press wherever freedom of expression does not exist and promote the responsible use of the media where the free press is already there. He says, “Journalists must always have their hands on the pulse of the world in order to report accurately.” Furthermore, “In a world of conflict and differing ideologies, the media play a large role in determining whether we live in peace or war.”

His sincere remarks deserve appreciation. His remarks at the tenth World Media Conference in 1989 can be the subject of research for both academics and soul-searching media personnel.

Appreciating Reverend Moon’s assertion, it can be said that the role of media should be to inculcate caution so that the world is not pushed to the risk of a world war again by any remark from a journalist. The ghastly experience of two world wars has shown we cannot afford to have another, which might be apocalyptic.

Having established newspapers himself, he pleads to newsmen, saying, “Media must stand at the very forefront in the defense of human dignity and freedom and the crusade against all forms of injustice. It must oppose corruption and racism and lead the fight against drug abuse, pornography, etc., to become the conscience of society.”

There is a general feeling that Western media pay attention to developing countries only when there are catastrophes, coups and earthquakes. As America is considered a microcosm of the world, it has the responsibility to do more for others. Of the 270 million people of the United States, 26 million, or about 10 percent, were born in another country, and Americans are from more parts of the world than the people of any other country. So Americans have a responsibility to do something for others in the world.

Reverend Moon, who combines in himself Eastern values and simplicity, skill and artistry and American broadness and brilliance, potential and precision, can deliver something more for the people. Along with his spiritual pursuit, Reverend Moon’s strong will augurs well for all his programs. His relentless effort to bring smiles to the faces of unfortunates, strengthen the foundation of the family, carry forward his ambitious education program and ensure world peace through inter-religious harmony and cooperation will achieve crowning success.

He has unstinting support from dedicated people around him and his family and millions of others across the world in the discharge of his noble work. 

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