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Dialogue is essential for peace
Badea Abu Al-Naja | Arab News

 

 
 

UNITED AGAINST DIVIDERS: Delegates to the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid attend the final session on Friday. (SPA)

 
 
 

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MADRID: The three-day international interfaith conference, which concluded here yesterday, emphasized the need for promoting dialogue among religions and cultures in order to strengthen world peace and stability.

Nearly 300 delegates representing Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other faiths from across the world attended the conference, which was opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Wednesday in the presence of Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister José Luis Rodrيguez Zapatero.

The participants reminded the world of the Declaration of the UN General Assembly in 1994, which called for tolerance and the spread of the culture of peace.

The final declaration issued by the conference rejected the notion of the so-called “clash of civilizations” and warned against the danger of campaigns seeking to deepen conflicts and destabilize peace and security.

The conference also called for an international agreement to combat terrorism.

“The conference has thoroughly reviewed the process of dialogue and its obstacles as well as the catastrophes that afflict humanity and noted that terrorism is one of the most serious obstacles confronting dialogue and coexistence,” the declaration said.

“Terrorism is a universal phenomenon that requires unified international efforts to combat it in a serious, responsible and just way... This demands an international agreement on defining terrorism, addressing its root causes and achieving justice and stability in the world.”

The declaration was read by Abdul Rahman Al-Zaid, deputy secretary-general of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), which organized the conference at the initiative of King Abdullah.

“King Abdullah has a universal vision... and believes that the followers of different faiths and cultures, who uphold common values, can play a big role in solving problems,” said Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the MWL, while addressing a press conference.

He said the conference had no political agenda. “It was organized with a humanitarian perspective and the invitees were religious leaders and other dignitaries who are concerned with dialogue and human relations.”

He said there was no problem among the various religions. “The problem is created by the behavior and practices of their followers,” he said.

Delegates were optimistic that the conference would open a new era in interfaith relations.

“It’s a major step,” said Jesse Jackson, the American civil rights leader. “For the king to use his moral authority to convene this session, to work for common ground — that’s a very big step.”

Tony Blair, special envoy of the Middle East Quartet, was equally encouraged. “The king has made a lot of reforms,” Blair said, referring to King Abdullah. “The fact that this conference is happening with the king, and with religious leaders of all different faiths, is significant.” For Rabbi Brad Hirschfield of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York, the conference was like a baby taking its first steps. “On the one hand, it’s the most ordinary moment,” he said. “And on the other, it’s the most important. But what matters is what the baby does next.”

“This will not be a one-off conference. I’m sure the commitment of the king to engage in dialogue will continue,” said Anthony Ball, an aide to the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, North American chairman of the World Jewish Congress, said King Abdullah was reaching out to other faiths to counter extremists and fanatics. “What I heard from him is that ‘I represent Islam, and I am the voice of moderation’,” he added.

The conference called for enhancing common human values and for their dissemination within societies. “It emphasized the need to promote a culture of tolerance and understanding through dialogue by holding conferences and developing relevant cultural, educational and media programs,” the declaration said.

The participants agreed “on international guidelines for dialogue among the followers of religions and cultures.” They said the deepening of moral values and ethical principles, which are common denominators among such followers, would help strengthen stability and achieve prosperity for all humans.

Governmental and nongovernmental organizations have been urged to issue a document stipulating respect for religions and their symbols, prohibition of their denigration and repudiation of those who commit such acts.

In order to fulfill the above-mentioned objectives, the participants agreed to form a working team to study the problems hindering dialogue. “The team will prepare a study that provides visions for the solution of these problems and coordinate with bodies that promote world dialogue,” the conference said.

The five-point methodology for the realization of the conference’s objectives included cooperation among religious, cultural, educational, and media organizations to consolidate ethical values, encourage noble social practices and confront sexual promiscuity, family disintegration and other vices.

It also decided to organize inter-religious and inter-cultural meetings, conduct research and use the Internet and other media for the dissemination of a culture of peace, understanding and coexistence.

The conference urged the UN General Assembly to support its recommendations and called for a special UN session on dialogue.

“The participants expressed hope that King Abdullah would use his good offices with the concerned bodies in convening this session as soon as possible,” the declaration said. The participants voiced their readiness to take part in such a UN session.

The conference adopted 10 principles that included unity of humankind and the equality of human beings irrespective of their colors, ethnic backgrounds and cultures; purity of the nature of humans as they were created liking good and disliking evil, inclining to justice and avoiding injustice; diversity of cultures and civilizations.

Other principles adopted included:

The heavenly messages aim at realizing the obedience of humankind to its Creator and achieving happiness, justice, security and peace;

Respecting heavenly religions, preserving their high status, condemning any insult to their symbols, and combating the exploitation of religion in the instigation of racial discrimination;

Observing peace, honoring agreements and respecting unique traditions of peoples and their right to security, freedom and self-determination as the basis for building good relations among all people.

The conference emphasized the significance of religion and moral values and the need for humans to revert to their Creator in their fight against crime, corruption, drugs, and terrorism, and in preserving the institution of the family and protecting societies from deviant behaviors.

“The family is the basic unit of society and its nucleus. Protecting it from disintegration is a cornerstone for any secure and stable society,” it said.

“Dialogue is one of the most important means for knowing each other,” the declaration said. “The preservation of the environment and its protection from pollution and other dangers are considered a major objective of all religions and cultures.”

 

 

 

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Comments:  

The problem here is that there is a pattern that is very easy to see. In countries where Muslim is the majority, the Muslims do whatever it takes to make Islam the only religion of that country. They do whatever it takes to wipe out all other beliefs and religions and all other cultures. When Muslim is not a majority, they demand equal right and equal protection, while at the same time, they they do whatever it takes to increase their own number, so one day they will become the majority. If this scheme is allowed to continue, some day, the whole world will be totally under Islam, or Islam will be destroyed, one way or another.

amita77508@yahoo.com

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I really like this Article and find this sort of discussions can increase brotherhood feeling among all Religions. Cheers.

amit346in@gmail.com

 

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Allama Iqbal-The Great Poet of the East

“Let the Muslims proclaim a million times that Iqbal is theirs, but let me declare, Iqbal belongs to we all and confining Iqbal to a particular religion or community is injustice to this great poet himself”, said a professor at a function held at Mysore University in the honor of Iqbal when he visited Mysore in January 1929 on the special invitation of the Maharaja of Mysore... Read Full

 

 

 
 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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