Religious Leaders See Need to Prevent Radicalism

Mention Key Responsibility for Youth

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2008 ( Catholic and Muslim leaders have a special responsibility toward youth, to prevent them from falling victim to radicalism, concluded a pontifical council in conjunction with the World Islamic Call Society.

Delegations from both religions — the Catholic one led by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; and the Muslim one led by Ibrahim Rabu, representative of the society — met in Rome from Monday till today. They met with the Pope following today’s general audience.

A final statement from the meeting reflected four points.

The first point deals with the «first and most important responsibility of religious leaders,» which the conference participants affirmed is of a «religious nature.»

Still, they said, considering the role religion «can and should have in society,» religious leaders «also have a cultural and social role to play in promoting fundamental ethical values, such as justice, solidarity, peace, social harmony and the common good of society as a whole, especially the needy, the weak, migrants and the oppressed.»

The Catholic and Muslim delegations agreed that religious leaders have a special responsibility for youth, «who require particular attention so that they do not fall victim to religious fanaticism and radicalism, receiving rather, a sound education thereby helping them to become bridge builders and peace makers.»

Finally, «taking into consideration that crises of diverse nature, including in interreligious relations, are possible, on a national or international level, religious leaders should learn to prevent, cope with and remedy these particular situations, avoiding their degeneration into confessional violence. This requires a mutual respect and reciprocal knowledge, both cherishing personal relations and building confidence and mutual trust, so as to be able to confront together crises when they occur.»

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