Seminar “Religions and the Dignity of Life" concludes, statement issued

Seminar “Religions and the Dignity of Life" concludes, statement issued

By Rula Samain/ The Jordan Times and

The sessions of the fifth dialogue seminar between the Vatican Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue and the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies concluded on Thursday May 10, 2018 to complement the decade-old cooperation between the two parties.

Following the conclusion of the seminar, titled: “Religions and the Dignity of Life, Views of the Islamic and Christian Religions”, the following statement was issued:

The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) in Amman, Jordan, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), Vatican City, held their fifth Colloquium in Amman on May 9-10, 2018.

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Ben Talal, chairman of the board of trustees of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, presided the RIIFS delegate, meanwhile Most Reverent Miguel Ayuso, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed the PCID delegation representing the president, his eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran who was unable to attend the colloquium.

The participants sent their prayerful wishes to Cardinal Tauran thanking him for his message and for his continued engagement in interreligious dialogue.

Each delegation was composed of twelve participants and three observers.

The theme under study was "Religions and the Dignity of Life: Christian and Muslim Viewpoints."

Professor Abdel Jabbar Al-Refae and Dr. Yousef Kamal El-Hage presented the first subtheme, "Religion and the Dignity of Life: Challenges" from Islamic and Christian Viewpoints." Professor Wajih Kanso moderated the session.

The second session moderated by Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, addressed the topic "Religion and the Dignity of Life: Opportunities". Monsignor Bernard Munono and Professor Mohammad Ali Azar Shab addressed the participants on this subject.

During the third session, the participants listed to H.E. Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic and to Dr. Paolo Bernardini presenting the last sub-theme "Religions and the Dignity of Life: Perspectives". Professor Hichen Grissa.

The RIIFS invited the participants to the concert with Sister Marie Keyrouz and Salam Choir.

The Colloquium took place in a friendly and open atmosphere which favored a rich exchange of ideas and views on the theme and the related issues.

At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed on the following recommendations:

-Life is God's gift to all members of the one human family; therefore, it should be protected from its conception to its natural end.
-The human being is the apex of the creation, with dignity, rights and duties. This is why each person deserves respect, and all the means necessary for a dignified life.

-There is a strong relationship between the respect for human dignity and rights on the one hand, and the progress and prosperity of a nation, on the other. This relationship constitutes another motive for promoting human dignity.
-Migrants, refugees, victims of human trafficking deserve special attention and care, to have their life and dignity safeguarded.

-Young generations need to be educated on the respect of the Creation and the dignity of life, especially the weak and the needy. The idea of an ethical code to be taught at schools merits thorough study, taking into account the negative phenomena in our societies.

-The Catholic delegation expressed profound gratitude to HRH Prince El Hassan Ben Talal, to Director of RIIFS Dr. Majeda Omar and to all the staff.

At the end of the Colloquium, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the two parties, confirming and institutionalizing their ongoing and fruitful collaboration.

Prince Hassan: Reconstruction of Levant requires rebuilding human dignity

Earlier, addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day Religion and Dignity of Life: Christian and Muslim Viewpoint colloquium on Wednesday, he stressed that the rebuilding process should be based on humanitarian considerations, otherwise, the path may lead to divergence that would, in turn, lead to violence. He underlined that the region is bracing for a “gold-rush” that will see developers from different countries flocking to the region.

He said that during the rebuilding of war-torn countries, conflicts and contradictions arise, and in such a situation, youth are our greatest loss. But to make genuine peace, he continued, a post-conflict reconstruction blueprint that takes into consideration the human aspects of the process and render it a win for all, is needed.

The right to humanitarian assistance starts with mercy, His Highness said, which should go hand-in-hand with justice, underlining the fact that there are, for example, 18 million hungry people in Yemen (out of a population of around 29 million).

The starvation is coupled with a severe shortage in potable water. The Prince urged, in this context, the establishment of a regional private-public council to manage water crises, as well as other issues related to the degradation of the human environment and loss of human dignity as a result of protracted conflicts.

His Highness said that the world is struggling for dignity, and that the focus should be now on “interdependence” among communities and groups, stressing on the shared humanitarian values as the foundation and the common ground where all humans can meet to solve their problems.

Any solution, he emphasized, should be “sympathetic with human suffering” and aimed at equality as the key element in human justice.

The event was organized in cooperation with the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies (RIIFS) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID).

Bishop Miguel Ayuso, PCID’s secretary, deputized for the council’s president, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, at the gathering.
In his remarks, he said that human life and dignity requires the efforts of religious leaders, communities, individuals and groups to join efforts in favor of the dignity of life.

He said that Daesh is still out there and “cannot be forgotten easily”, adding that the terror group’s acts of violence have affected the Muslim majority as well as the other groups, resulting in a wave of migration involving all.

When searching for the reasons behind terrorism, he said that poverty, injustice and discrimination are not the only drives: “The absence of hope tops them all.”

He stressed that the future generation needs hope fed by “positive” media, social media and a proper education system.
He said that the collaboration between PCID and RIIFS over the years sets an example for other such endeavors.

The fifth colloquium, which convenes every two years, started in 2009 in Jordan, taking turns between Jordan and Rome.
Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, head of the Islamic relations office at PCID at the Vatican City underlined “the pressing need to discuss human dignity to ensure respect for human rights and among members of the community”.

He added that learning to respect others and their rights at school where students should be taught to respect their peers and teachers, and to keep their school tidy. “If we are able to teach these small values, then we can move to teaching the more significant ones.”

Ali Azar Shad, an Arabic professor from Iran presented a paper on religion and dignity of life, in which he concluded that dignity, is an integral part in the human right to life.

He told The Jordan Time on the sidelines of the event that the reason behind all wars is the lack of dignity, and that wars lead to loss of human dignity; the cure to all wounds, he added, is love of humanity, beauty and perfection.

Among the audience was Aminah Hoti, executive director of Dialogue and Action at the University of Cambridge. She said that the present difficulties around the world are making people feel unstable and insecure, especially the youth.
“Young people need hope and clear leadership of peace,” she told The Jordan Times.

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 11:35
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