A new platform for religious dialogue in the Arab world

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A new platform for religious dialogue in the Arab world

By Fr. Rif’at Bader

“The Dialogue for Peace” Conference, which has recently convened in Vienna by King Abdullah Ben Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), acquired global media attention. The two-day conference titled, “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace, Promoting Peaceful Coexistence” was attended by over 250 religious figures in addition to a number of politicians in as well as those concerned with interfaith dialogue and with the dissemination of peace and harmony among people.

The most prominent event of this international conference was the launching of the "Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation among Religious Leaders and Institutions in the Arab World". This platform, whose founding document was reviewed during two conferences that were held in our capital Amman between December 2017 and February 2018, serves as a framework of cooperation.

The founding document of the platform states: “What made its founders undertake this decision are the painful events that the Arab world has been going through for two decades which created a real threat to the diversity of the social fabric, thus, there is a prominent role to be played by diverse religious leaders, religious institutions and those concerned with ‘enhancing’ social cohesion and common living designed to foster a culture of citizenship, to entrench pluralism and to respect diversity.’’

The objectives of this platform, in its capacity as a common working group, can be summed up as follows: Enhancing communication amongst religious leaders and institutions as well as stakeholders who engage in dialogue; coordinating the efforts to stand up to the challenges facing the Arab societies; strengthening the relationship between religious leaders and institutions and policy makers at the national, regional and international levels; and developing action plans and specific programs that contribute to fostering peaceful coexistence and enhancing a shared citizenship at both the local and regional levels.

Fr. Rif’at Bader also took part in a seminar, chaired by WCC Communication Director Ms. Marianne Ejdersten, as well as attended by Jordan’s Ambassador to Austria Husam Husseini and several influential people in several media outlets from various courtiers, titled “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace, Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship”. He said: “The problem that adversely influences our youth nowadays is the tendentious pieces of news circulated by influential politicians, or those who deal in religion, economy or business. Such pieces of news fragment societies, so let us agree on the principle that human dignity is valuable and that it is not subject for trading.”

In recent years, a series of centers concerned with dialogue at the global and regional levels have been established. They are aimed, in the first place, at creating societies that reciprocate respect in the framework of religious and cultural pluralism that entrench coordination, mutual respect and integration rather than discrimination among people.

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