Christian Council for Monetary Justice
Papers su
bmitted by Members

An Open Letter to the First World Islamic Economic Forum
Kuala Lumpur, October 1-3, 2005

Thursday 22nd September 2005, by Kamran Mofid

Dear Political and Business Leaders,

Many millions of people around the world wish you well and pray that with God's blessings and guidance the Forum will be a great success. However, given the enormity of our global crises, this distinguished Forum should not be allowed to become-like many other international gatherings before it - a talking shop on value-free economics, ignoring true human values, such as, justice, comradeship, spirituality and compassion. This important and timely Forum must not become another Davos or G8, long on Economic recommendations and very short in achievements to eradicate world poverty, hunger, insecurity and injustice. These international meetings have failed to achieve their said objectives, because they have failed to recognise and appreciate that, "the marketplace is not just an economic sphere, it is a region of the human spirit". The people of the East, I am sure, will be able to show to the world that, it is their spirituality and compassion that is the cornerstone of their civilisation. Today's world of globalisation is marked by immense wealth and acute poverty. Moreover, total concentration on wealth creation and economic growth, without knowing why, what for and how, has led to an erosion of moral and spiritual values, as well as a destructive decline in the institutions that traditionally promoted and protected these true human values: the family, religious institutions and community structures.

Economic globalisation may be able to address economic problems but neither the free market nor any other vale-free system can fill a moral vacuum. The undeniable fact of life confronting us on this planet of ours is that there is gross and growing inequality, amongst people, different nations and within nations. Material wellbeing, economic growth and wealth creation are important. But, to create a world of true happiness, peace and wellbeing, wealth must be created for a noble reason.

Today's business leaders are in a unique position to influence what happens in society for years to come. With this power comes monumental responsibility. They can choose to ignore this responsibility, and thereby exacerbate problems such as economic inequality, environmental degradation and social justice, but this will compromise their ability to do business in the long run. The world of good business needs a peaceful and just world in which to operate and prosper.

Economics, commerce and trade, without a true understanding of the aspirations of the people it is affecting, cannot bring justice to all. Social transformation can be achieved only when unselfish love, spirituality and a rigorous pursuit of justice are embraced.

Whilst considering the many economic questions and issues we should also reflect on the Divine dimension of life. Moreover, and should, in contrast to what is practised today, be concerned with the world of heart and spirit. Although self-interest is an important source of human motivation, driving the decisions we make in the marketplace every day, those decisions nevertheless have a moral, ethical and spiritual content, because each decision we make affects not only ourselves but others too. Today's modern economists consider their discipline a science, and thereby divorced from ethical details, the normative passions of right and wrong. They have turned their discipline into a moral-free zone.

If we want to truly succeed, globalisation will need to combine economic efficiency to meet human needs with social justice and environmental sustainability. Moreover, we should do our utmost for the creation of an "ecumenical space", for dialogue amongst civilisations and the building of community for the common good by bringing economics, spirituality and theology together. A cornerstone of promoting ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue is that world religions can be paths, rather than obstacles, to peace. Religions can jointly contribute to the process of peacemaking by sharing the depth of their accumulated wisdom and reflective resources. Through education and meaningful interaction in settings of openness, dignity and respect, people of faith can bring about significant societal transformation. Therefore, what the world needs now is a "Spiritual Revolution". One of the main causes of today's global disorder is the absence of justice and the rise in the false religion of materialism. When justice disappears, it becomes no wonder to see oppression, corruption, occupation and terrorism reigning. So, applying justice is a key factor and necessary step towards restoring peace and security in the world. Coupled with this, materialism, the philosophy that argues what matters most is the matter itself, denies the existence of all spiritual entities, and God Himself.

The major religions of the world prescribe the unselfish love and service of others. Only when this love extends to all humanity without exception can a dignified and peaceful human future become possible. The Hindu faith states that in service to others is happiness; in selfishness is misery and pain. For the Sikhs, God is love and love is God. St. Paul wrote, "Love (agape) is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs" (I Corinthians 13). Buddhism teaches us to cultivate universal compassion. Judaism teaches that "those who are kind reward themselves" (Proverbs 11:17). The Quran reads, "My mercy and compassion embrace all things" (Quran 7:156). In these and other traditions, unselfish love is deemed a Creative Presence underlying and integral to all of reality, participation in which constitutes the fullest experience of spirituality.

There is an urgent need about realizing unselfish love in our globalising world. Love is a joyful and full-hearted affirmation of the well-being of others that can be expressed in the forms of tolerance and forbearance, forgiveness and reconciliation, compassion and care, and service to the neediest as well as to the nearest. When we extend ourselves to others in this way we become happier and more content, for paradoxically, in the giving of self lies the unsought discovery of self. Moreover, given our desire to realise a globalisation which is good for all, it should be noted that, social transformation can occur only when unselfish love, spiritual experience and a rigorous pursuit of justice are linked.

People everywhere, given a chance prefer to be compassionate, spiritual and caring. They want to be able to practice their religions freely. More and more, they also want to see that their religious values have a bearing on their economic systems and structures. This philosophy is stronger more so in many parts of the Eastern world and Muslim countries, whose people by and large are very spiritual, religious, hospitable, informed and cultural.

They largely do not reject the pivotal values behind the market economy. Indeed, this region throughout the history has been the major area of, and for, business, trade and commerce. They do know that, under the right conditions, a market economy can drive development, decrease poverty, encourage productivity, and reward entrepreneurial energy. Moreover, Great many Muslims everywhere want their societies to be economically and politically compatible with the West, while remaining in social and spiritual terms true to their Islamic heritage. They want to trigger both the equivalent of a renaissance and a rationalist enlightened movement in the Islamic world. Based on our commonly shared values of love, compassion, justice and progress for the common good, we should be able to formulate a partnership for mutual benefit and development.

However, it is a great tragedy that many so-called modernisers in the region itself, as well as great many specialists /advisors from the West, have misunderstood the people of the region by forcing upon them a social engineering model that is not in harmony with the region's culture, civilisation and spirituality.

The ethical and spiritual teachings of all religions and their striving for the common good can provide a clear and focused model of moral behaviour in what has been termed "the market place". The religious and business values and sentiments, such as human dignity, communal solidarity, humility, patience, service, compassion, reciprocity, social justice, equity, efficiency, growth and profit should go together, hand-in-hand, leading to Globalisation for the Common Good, where every one is a winner. We should acknowledge that, "the marketplace is not just an economic sphere, but, it is a region of the human spirit, compassion and dignity".

The call for this dialogue is an appeal to the deep instinctive understanding of the common good that all people share. It is an appeal to our essential humanity to deal with some of the most pressing concerns of peoples the world over. Religion has always been a major factor in the growth of human civilisation. Business and wealth creation when they are for a noble reason are blessed and vital for human survival.

As a global citizen, with a deep understanding of both Eastern and Western traditions and values, as well as an economist who has promoted spiritual economics and economics of compassion, I would like to present- Globalisation for the Common Good - for your kind consideration at the Forum, which I believe is in great harmony with the tradition of the people you are representing at this gathering.

Globalisation for the Common Good

Globalisation for the Common Good means the promotion of ethical, moral and spiritual values - which are shared by all religions - in the areas of economics, commerce, trade and international relations. It emphasizes personal and societal virtues. It calls for understanding and collaborative action - on the part of civil society, private enterprise, the public sector, governments, and national and international institutions - to address major global issues. Globalisation for the common good is predicated on a global economy of sharing and community, grounded in an economic value system whose aim is generosity and the promotion of a just distribution of the world's goods, which are divine gifts.

Globalisation for the Common Good is not about charity. It is not about collecting money. It is about justice. To know justice and to serve it, is to feel the pain of, and to become one with the sufferer; is to ask fundamental questions about the roots of injustice and to fight for their eradication. Today's global problems are not economic or technological only. The solutions are not more economic growth, privatisation or trade liberalisation. What the world needs is a Spiritual Revolution, where I, I, me, me, culture is replaced with we and us culture. Globalisation for the Common Good is that needed culture: the culture of solidarity and oneness with the poor, suppressed, marginalised and excluded. Globalisation for the Common Good is for the practise of Economics of Compassion, Economics of Kindness and Economics of Solidarity. These kinds of economics can only be practised by people who are compassionate and kind. Globalisation for the Common Good is the way to build a world that is just, free and prosperous.


The acknowledgement of God, Ultimate Reality, or the One
. Our lives are grounded in an Ultimate Reality, the source of the sacredness of all life and of the spiritual power, hope, and trust that we discover in prayer or meditation, in word or silence, and in our striving for just relationships with all existence.

The investment of Spiritual Capital.
The most powerful way for faith and spiritual communities to influence beliefs, norms and institutions is through prophetic voice and public action. Highly visible faith and interfaith affirmation of the great spiritual truths of peace, justice, and the sacredness of the Earth and all life can make a tremendous contribution to Globalisation for the Common Good. Action and service by spiritual and faith communities and groups can provide a vital source of inspiration and energy for the healing of the world.

The practice of selfless Love. The most important point of convergence shared by the world's great spiritual traditions is to be found in the practice and power of selfless love for all humanity. It is the wellspring of the best hope for a better future.

The cultivation of interfaith Dialogue and Engagement. It is absolutely vital that religious and spiritual communities come together with one another in honest and open dialogue. It is also essential that these communities enter into dialogue with secular groups, organizations and governments working for a better world. Religious and spiritual communities - in mutual respect and partnership - must engage the critical issues that face the planetary community as the 21st century unfolds.

The nurturing of cultures of Peace.
True cultural evolution is perhaps best measured in the growing rejection of violent approaches to conflict resolution in favour of the cultivation of the infrastructures of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. Our greatest contribution to the future lies in ensuring that our children grow to maturity in cultures of peace.

The struggle for Justice. Justice is the heart of all creation. It is the profound feeling of oneness with all other beings in the universe. Today, it finds its most vital expression in social and economic fairness, concern for others and the vigorous defence of human rights.

The realization of Gender Partnership. Challenging the assumptions and infrastructures of patriarchy is essential to cultural evolution. Women and men, living and working together in harmony and equity, can build stronger, more creative religious communities and societies.

The path of Sustainability. In this rapidly changing world, our reverence for the Earth will determine the fate of the entire community of planetary life. This deep, visionary and unconditional caring for what is yet to come, is the love of life embedded in ecological sustainability.

The commitment to Service. Service is our link to spirit. Personal action for a better world is the discernable manifestation of the divine in the human. The essence of service is the grace of giving. We give because giving is how life begins and how it continues. This process will enhance personal responsibility for the common good.


Globalisation for the Common Good affirms that economics is, above all, concerned with human well-being and happiness in society and with care for the Earth. This cannot be separated from moral and spiritual considerations. The idea of a "value-free" economics is spurious. It demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of what it means to be a human being. We affirm our conviction that genuine interfaith dialogue and cooperation is a significant way of bringing the world together. It is indispensable to the creation of the harmonious global culture needed to build peace, justice, sustainability and prosperity for all. The call for Globalisation for the Common Good is an appeal to our essential humanity. It engages the most pressing concerns of peoples the world over.

Globalisation for the Common Good, by addressing the crises that face us all, empowers us with humanity, spirituality and love. It engages people of different races, cultures and languages, from a wide variety of backgrounds, all committed to bringing about a world in which there is more solidarity and greater harmony. This spiritual ground for hope at this time of wanton destruction of our world, can help us to recall the ultimate purpose of life and of our journey in this world.

Kamran Mofid, PhD (ECON)
Founder, An Inter-faith Perspective on Globalisation for the Common Good and co-author (with Rev. Marcus Braybrooke), Promoting the Common Good: Bringing Economics and Theology Together Again, Shepheard-Walwyn, London, 2005