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At G20, matters of economics and faith

business Updated: Mar 31, 2009 00:39 IST
Zia Haq

As the heads of the nations and CEOs get together for the G20 summit in London on Thursday to discuss and find a way out of the global economic crisis, they will also turn to religion for help.

Aside from the ministerial brainstorm, a string of “imaginative events” will be held to address the crisis, including a special interfaith session at the UK Parliament’s House of Commons, with “Role of Religion in Solving Global Problems” as the theme.

Spiritual gurus, including a cleric from India, will address what many consider the meltdown beast: greed. The speakers will include Anil Bhanot of the Hindu Council, UK, Maulana Umair Ilyasi, secretary general, All-India Association of Imams, and Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem.

“Moral and ethical underpinnings are crucial for the stability of our society. Ethical practice is important in all walks of life. That is why it was decided to have an interfaith series. It will be attended by politicians and business people alike,” Robin Marsh, head of UK-based Universal Peace Federation, which is facilitating the religious session, said.

Financial follies triggered the sub-prime crisis in the US, marked by tax-dodging, bonus-guzzling and pension-pinching activities. At last year’s G20 summit in the US, a Washington Declaration was passed. Among other proposals, a 47-point action plan included strengthening transparency and promoting integrity in financial markets.

The G20 was set up after the Asian crisis wrecked several so-called tiger economies in the 1990s, prompting world leaders to have a forum involving more countries for wider economic debate.

New Delhi-based Ilyasi said he would speak on Islam’s views on greed for wealth, while Bhanot will speak on Hinduism’s perspective of moral codes of conduct in daily life.