Interfaith Dialogue calls for action to tackle war, poverty


Prominent Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders are attending the two-day conference being held under the theme “human solidarity.”

In his inaugural address, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs H E Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud said religions are now required, more than any time before, to promote solidarity among themselves and initiate practical steps to salvage human communities. “The present status of world communities includes wars and destruction, poverty, disease and ignorance, starvation, natural disasters, the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, absence of social justice, deterioration of human rights and basic freedoms, state of alienation and moral degradation, environmental disasters, famine etc. It is my conviction that such situations call on religions to step in with a view to playing their active and effective role in human life,” said Al Mahmoud.

The Minister said the conference had become a notable event that practically represents Qatar.

“I believe that the past six conferences, in this series, had managed, to a great extent, to thaw the ice and remove the psychological barriers standing between the followers of divine religions- barriers that never exited before, but recently resulted because of oppression, aggression and non- administration of justice.”

“The religions participating in this conference today represent almost 60 percent of the world’s population. These religions further share a divine origin and they all return to Abraham. Thus, their responsibilities before human conscience are enormous and that renders their solidarity and joint action all the more a religious as well as a moral duty,” added Al Mahmoud.

Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsan Uglu said the “war on terror” started in the beginning of this millennium and the growing Islamophobia have led to violation of human rights.

He said the Israeli aggression in Gaza and Judaisation of Jerusalem have abetted tension among religious communities.

“What Israel has done resulted only in increasing hatred and triggering conflict. If Israel is relying on its military dominance there is another force which can not be defeated by military force- that is the force of truth,” he added.

He noted that the OIC was the first to add the topic of the interfaith dialogue to the UN agenda in 1998, which later adopted the issue and marked 2001 as the year of interfaith dialogue across the world.

Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the board of directors of the Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID) said, up to 60 percent of the human beings lack the basic needs of a decent life, including drinking water, education, proper housing and health services.

More than 800 million people are starving, 240 million of them exist only in Africa, he said, adding that such pain suffered across the world calls for a moral organisation to enhance dialogue, depending on common grounds.

He expressed pleasure over the participation of secondary school students in the conference, who will represent their vision through discussing the role of human solidarity in handling the economic crisis. He said students from Jerusalem could not attend the conference due the difficult situation there.

President of the Council of French Jewish Institutions Bernard Kanovitch stressed the common grounds between the three major world religions. “We all have only one God and what the messengers of God have said, came in the three divine books, this is what all religions share,” he said.

The Archbishop and Secretary-General, Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican, Pier Luigi Celata urged followers of the three religions to integrate, co-exist and establish political, economic, cultural and social ties, which, he said will spread an atmosphere of equality and tolerance among world nations.

Member of the International Advisory Board and chairperson of the session, Aisha Yousuf Al Mannai also stressed the importance of co-existence and the acceptance of others through dialogue.


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