Call to reject hate speech toward religious minorities

By Staff on February 08, 2016

 

Morocco protects the rights of religious minorities. Photo: Courtesy of Morocco World News.


Religious leaders and scholars from across the Muslim world met in Marrakesh, Morocco from Jan. 25-27 to endorse the responsibility of Muslims living in Muslim-majority countries to protect the religious minorities living in their midst, reports the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), based in Vienna.

 

The scholars were responding to a crisis: in recent years, several predominantly Muslim countries have witnessed brutal atrocities inflicted upon longstanding religious minorities, the center said. The conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, based in the United Arab Emirates.

To address this crisis, participants and organizers at the Marrakesh conference returned to an ancient document: the Charter of Medina. One of the world's oldest written constitutions, it is a contract of coexistence and freedom of religion in a multi-religious state, and rooted in the Islamic experience, KAICIID said.

The resulting declaration, the Marrakesh Declaration, is a call to action for people to take individual and collective responsibility to reject discrimination and stereotyping.

“The vision of these high religious leaders who publicly stand for harmonious relations between people of various religious traditions is in itself a powerful signal to the rest of the world, and to those who misinterpret religion for violence. Violence has no place, no connection to religion. These values, of coexistence, peace, respect for the other, and for unity within difference, are at the heart of every religion,” KAICIID commented in a statement on its website.

WACC stands for communication rights, however, “today, more than ever, freedom of expression and opinion must be weighed against the possibility of inciting violence or using hate speech,” said Philip Lee, WACC’s Deputy Director of Programs.

“This is especially urgent in situations where religious belief is being used to provoke intolerance or discrimination. Media practitioners have a professional duty to present balanced and unbiased news and stories that respect people of all faiths and none,” he added.

WACC’s Principles affirm that “communicators have a responsibility to create images and meaning respectful of the values and traditions that lie at the heart of other people’s lives… to strengthen inter-cultural and inter-religious understandings and to promote societies whose cultures live in peace together.”

The Secretary General of KAICIID, Faisal Bin Muaammar, urged leaders in the Arab world to pursue action on the day-to-day, on-the-ground problems that are faced by Christian and Muslim communities who are enduring the atrocities committed by the so-called ISIS and other similar groups.

Bin Muaammar was speaking during a panel at the conference on the “Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities.”

Bin Muaammar said: “Theological studies and revisions of Islamic historic and religious writings are very important in this discussion. But what is perhaps even more important is the action that follows. KAICIID’s experience with these issues shows that there is an urgent need for Christian and Muslim religious leaders to pursue joint action: to publicly work on issues of shared concern to both groups.”

The participants at the meeting unanimously agreed that no violent act can be justified in the name of any religion.

The Secretary General outlined KAICIID’s work on the United Against Violence in the Name of Religion Initiative, which seeks to promote common citizenship and social cohesion in the Arab region and elsewhere by bringing together religious leaders and policy makers to work on joint projects.

The issue of the preservation of religious minorities, may be, in the words of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, the intellectual force behind the Marrakesh conference, the most pressing problem facing the world today.

KAICIID brings together religious leaders and policymakers to discuss shared solutions to the problems facing the world today. 

 


By Staff| February 08, 2016
Categories:  News

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