Unification Church head Rev Moon to visit

Starbroek News, Guyana/November 22, 2005

Unification Church leader Rev Sun Myung Moon is slated to visit Guyana next month during the South American leg of his 100-city international tour.

Moon, the controversial religious figure, is visiting 100 cities in 100 days as part of a world tour to launch the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Guyana is just one of the places that he will be visiting this December, Unification Church Pastor Ronald McGarrell confirmed yesterday. He explained that the church is looking at holding a forum with religious, political, academic and community leaders to coincide with the reverend's one-day visit, to promote the idea of breaking down barriers and his family teachings.

McGarrell, cognisant of the controversy that surrounds 86-year-old Moon, hopes that locals would receive him and his teachings with an open mind, instead of preconceived notions. This is Moon's first visit to Guyana. But McGarrell did note that there was a very favourable response two years ago when another Unification Church official Rev Chung Hwan Kwak visited Guyana to hold a workshop. He said the same of a visit by Moon's daughter a decade ago.

Rev Moon is the founder of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, first established as the Unification Church on May 1, 1954, in Seoul, South Korea. With his wife Hak Ja Han, he is co-leader of the Unification Movement and his followers regard him and his wife as "the True Parents of humankind," hailing him as the Messiah. The unification church practices mass marriages and critics have described the movement as a "cult."

His opponents have frequently challenged Moon's credibility and often cite his conviction and prison term in the United States for tax evasion in the 1970s as evidence of murky dealings. They also criticize him for using the Unification Movement to operate and subsidize a number of major conservative news organizations, including the Washington Times and United Press International.

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