‘Religion can never justify terrorism’

November 14th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownUnited Nations, Nov 14 (IANS) The UN general assembly has in a declaration rejected the use of religion for terrorism or killing of innocent people.Thursday’s declaration was read out by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the end of the two-day high-level meeting on “Culture of Peace”, convened at the initiative of Saudi Arabia.

As many as 14 heads of state and governments, including US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, were present.

Expressing concern about the serious instances of intolerance, discrimination, hatred expressions, and harassment of minority religious communities, the declaration rejected the use of religion to justify killing of innocent people and actions of terrorism, violence and coercion, which directly contradict the commitment of all religions to peace, justice and equality.

Later addressing a press conference, Ban said this initiative has brought many people who otherwise would not be able to sit together.

“This is a very unique development, a very harmonious atmosphere. We need to build upon what we have discussed during the last two days,” he said.

Ban hoped that this dialogue and the declaration by the member states will lead to an interfaith dialogue itself, which is not necessarily something which should always be within the general assembly hall.

“We can demonstrate our commitment in various aspects of our life,” he said.

“King Abdullah’s initiative has come at a time when the need for dialogue among religions, cultures and civilizations has never been greater. It has brought together people who might not otherwise have a chance to interact. Along with other initiatives, it will contribute to building a more harmonious world,” the secretary general said.

In its declaration, the general assembly reiterated its call for promoting a culture of tolerance and mutual understanding through dialogue, and supporting the initiatives of religious leaders, civil society, and states seeking to entrench the culture of peace, understanding, tolerance, and respect for human rights among the proponents of various faiths, cultures, and civilizations.

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