The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, based in New York, on Thursday published a declaration of principles, signed by the foreign ministers of Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain, as well as by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in his role as Holy See Observer.
The declaration is to help build a united front to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the north of Iraq, as well as in other regions of the world.
The declaration was approved unanimously by the multireligious Board of Directors of KAICIID, who represent the major world religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.
The full text of the Declaration, entitled “In the Face of Conflict”, is published below:
We believe in the sanctity of life and the inherent dignity of the person. We believe that religion is an enabler of respect and reconciliation. We believe that dialogue among people of different religions and cultures is the path to lasting peace and social cohesion.
We affirm the purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. These equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
We condemn violent conflict in the world, more so violence committed in the name of religion, and call for an end to violent hostility. We deplore loss of life and commend those who seek to alleviate suffering, as well as those who strive to promote wellbeing, harmony and peace. We oppose the instrumentalisation of religion to make war. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. And we condemn hate speech and extremism that incite violence and fuel prejudice. KAICIID combats prejudice and intolerance, in all their forms.
KAICIID counteracts the abuse of religion to justify oppression, violence and conflict and facilitates peaceful resolution by bringing conflict parties to the dialogue table. We continue to enhance interreligious and intercultural dialogue in order to foster respect, understanding and cooperation among people.
We resolve to promote mutual respect and understanding among followers of all religions and peoples of all cultures, particularly through dialogue. Let us look upon each other as sisters and brothers and, and let us appreciate difference as enrichment rather than fearing ‘otherness’ as a threat.