Dialouge for Peace
The Launching of the Regional Dialogue & Cooperation Platform
for Religions Leaders & Institutions in the Arab World
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism that occurred in our Arab world and spread in many countries has become a global threat to relationships between nations and people in their communication and coexistence in societies and countries.
Without doubt, this phenomenon has cultural aspects that are linked to the religious thought of extremist and terrorist groups which are trying to use religion to sow inter-religious and intercultural animosity and hatred.
Terrorism is committed by groups, parties and governments that don’t represent neither denominations and religions nor nations. They are outlaws who have broken international and religious laws by committing criminal and hostile acts. They have also broken their own people’s values and beliefs and they only represent themselves and their followers through barbaric acts aiming at power and control.
Therefore it is incorrect to reduce populations and religions to extremist groups, regimes and parties.
Terrorism that is organized by pro-terrorism and terrorism generating countries and groups has turned into one of the major threats to the stability and continuity of our countries and societies.
Organized terrorism relies on an erroneous cultural background used to mobilize its followers in the name of religion. Therefore it is not enough to resort to military means to fight it. In order to combat this serious disease and extreme evil, it is rather necessary to endorse the speech of moderation represented by religious scholars and thinkers from all denominations and religions who are disseminating the speech of tolerance and openness, so as this kind of speech becomes the street’s speech and the culture of all people in general.
The KAICIID in Vienna has been at the forefront of the organizations which have worked and are currently endeavoring to disseminate the culture of dialogue and peace among all people.
Within the fight against the extremist thinking, the KAICIID has convened today a conference entitled “Inter-religious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence & Common Citizenship”.
Meetings held by religious leaders and thinkers shall undoubtedly enhance the dissemination of the culture of moderation and dialogue and have a positive impact on our people and communities. It is noteworthy that the endorsement of peaceful coexistence and common citizenship in our nations should be complemented by countering the discourse of extremism, its arguments and misuse of religion. This is to be achieved by supporting the voice of the moderates who are enlightened and bravely reject the logic of sectarian and religious animosity and conflicts and call for national States based on equality and justice for all citizens.
Furthermore, it has to be achieved through governments’ review of religious teaching curricula in religious institutions and universities and academic schools which include religious teaching in their educational programs so as to amend curricula and religious school books in order to focus on intellectual and religious freedoms, the freedom of belief, human rights, coexistence and inter-religious and intercultural dialogue.
We also suggest to our governments to establish joint Christian & Muslim religious institutes in which priests and Sheikhs (Muslim scholars) study together, side by side, Heavenly messages, then graduate from the same school and proceed to disseminate, in their communities and among their people, the message of tolerance that was delivered by Messengers and Prophets. All the aforementioned contributes effectively to spread the culture of moderation and coexistence that is based on love, tolerance and mutual respect.
The launching by KAICIID of the “Regional Dialogue & Cooperation Platform for Religious Leaders and Institutions in the Arab World” is a quantum leap for the consolidation of the values of dialogue and common citizenship we need in order to combat the culture of extremism and terror. This requires the selection of religious figures and institutions which don’t provide a cover for terrorism in their respective countries. One should not talk in conferences about the values of dialogue and coexistence while supporting and providing a cover, in one’s own country, for extremist parties and their policies.
Before, during and after that, States, regimes and rulers must assume their responsibilities to preserve and protect their people, reform political systems and laws and firmly implement them so as to deter criminals and fairly and equally implement them on the basis of citizenship whereby all people have equal rights and duties whatever their political, religious and sectarian affiliations are.
[Translated from Arabic by Katia Baroudy]