More than 200 leaders from the Arab region have met to commit to peacebuilding and repairing the divisions created by extremists.
The ‘Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship’ conference, organised by the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), was the first of its kind for Christian and Muslim leaders from the region, according to the World Council of Churches, one of the participating organisations.
Leaders from the Orthodox community, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Muslim World League, Jewish leaders and the Evangelical Church of Egypt were joined by policymakers and academics for the 26-27 February conference.
Opening the conference, KAICIID Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar said: “The unity of purpose between Christians and Muslims on vital issues, such as common citizenship, cannot be ignored. Unity among religious leaders is the strongest message of hope the region has seen in many years.”
Rev. Mark Poulson, Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury, said such platforms need to be authentic: “Platforms and the building of them involves preparation and care, and they are only effective if they are locally relevant.”
Catholic Bishop Miguel Ayuso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said: “The immense movements of refugees and migrants fleeing the horror of war shall find us united in compassion and aware of the urgency to address the present challenges.”
KAICIID is an inter-governmental organisation working to resolve conflict through dialogue. It has implemented programmes in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, the Arab region, Myanmar, and Europe.