Inter-faith congress calls for dialogue against terrorismJuly 19th, 2008 - 10:52 am ICT by IANS
Madrid, July 19 (DPA) A groundbreaking inter-faith conference here has called for a global dialogue between religions as a means of fighting terrorism. “We want to take the dialogue onto the world level,” including the UN, Muslim World League Secretary-General Abdullah al-Turki stressed Friday on closing the World Conference on Dialogue.
The meeting sponsored by Saudi Arabia brought together some 250 Muslim, Christian and Jewish clergy and other experts on inter-religious understanding in the Spanish capital Madrid.
“Heavenly messages” of all faiths rejected extremism and terrorism, the final declaration said, calling for “an international agreement on defining terrorism” and addressing its root causes.
The conference urged a “culture of tolerance”, ranging from a special UN session to create a body to work on inter-faith dialogue to the use of the media.
The Madrid conference was to be followed by the establishment of a working team to study obstacles to inter-faith understanding as well as meetings in several parts of the world, al-Turki and United Arab Emirates’ presidential adviser Izaddin Ibrahim Moustapha explained.
Moustapha said the Madrid conference could be followed by a similar one in Japan.
The final declaration condemned any denigration of religious symbols and urged religions to cooperate in the fight against crime, corruption, drugs, sexual promiscuity and disintegration of the family.
The conference was criticised for not listing any of the Jewish participants as Israelis, but al-Turki stressed its apolitical nature, saying the delegates had been invited as personalities and not as country representatives.
The Muslim World League secretary-general also rejected criticism over the fact that there were only about 15 women among the delegates, saying the league “welcomes any participation of women” in inter-religious dialogue.