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Restorative Justice Symposium at NYU

The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies of University of Notre Dame and the Working Party on Restorative Justice of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice organized a two-day symposium on Restorative Justice, Reconciliation and Peacebuilding at New York University School of Law on November 11-12. The event offered an opportunity for participants to rethink the relationship between reconciliation and restorative justice by addressing some of the controversies that beset the practice of peacebuilding such as peace versus justice, forgiveness versus retribution and religious versus secular approaches.

Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer led a discussion with Stephen Pope of Boston College on the conceptual definition of forgiveness in religious aspects. Both speakers agreed that religion is often used to channel forgiveness because it builds trust among communities. However, Professor Abu-Nimer stressed that the myth of forgiveness being a monolithic concept across all religion and culture has blinded us to assume one way of forgiving. Forgiveness is largely understood as a response to Christian theology, which creates problem when discussing forgiveness: Muslims to Muslims.