UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid as a symbol of unity among different faiths, adding that he hopes it will contribute to healing divisions and building a more secure and stable world.
In a message to the three-day conference, the UN chief thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah “for this welcome and timely initiative.”
King Abdullah arrived in Casablanca yesterday from Madrid, where he opened the conference on Wednesday.
“There have been few periods in history when the need for dialogue among world religions has been greater. At a time of increasing divisions along cultural and confessional lines, faith communities have a crucial role to play in fostering mutual understanding and in promoting a consensus on common values and aspirations,” Ban said in his message.
He added that the origin of many conflicts lies beyond the confines of faith. “This unique gathering of religious leaders can help debunk the dangerous myth that religion, even when properly understood, inspires violence,” he said, adding that political rivalries, territorial ambitions or competition for natural resources play a major role in triggering violence.
About 300 delegates from across the world — representing Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other faiths — are attending the conference, which has been organized by the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL). Participants include World Jewish Congress Secretary-General Michael Schneider and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who is in charge of dialogue between the Vatican and Muslims.
“This event is itself a potent symbol of unity among different traditions. Our challenge is to see this expression of solidarity turned into a genuine force for good,” Ban said. . .
Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, presented a paper on ethical reality in contemporary human society. (MORE)