Mon 04-02-2019 17:29 PM
ABU DHABI, 4th February, 2019 (WAM) -- The Global Conference of Human Fraternity dedicated its second and final day to education and dialogue and called on all the people of the world to acknowledge their similarities, embrace their differences, and see through those who hide behind religion to spread hate and discord.
Hosted by the Muslim Council of Elders at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, the Global Conference of Human Fraternity has convened elite religious, intellectual and media leaders from around the world to advocate reason and wisdom in dealing with people’s differences. The conference aims to counter violence and hatred in all its forms, especially when related to ethnic or ideological differences.
Sessions on day one included ‘Principles of Human Fraternity’ and ‘Common Responsibility to Achieving Human Fraternity’. Day two continued to articulate these themes as the event examined the challenges and opportunities related to creating and maintaining human fraternity.
HB Cardinal, Bechara Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, said: "Diversity in race, culture and religion is a means to exchange information, as we well know that God works in mysterious ways. Religion, for its part, has a negative and a positive aspect. The positive aspect is that religion does not create wars, while the negative is that its followers wage wars due to their ignorance or to politicise religion for their own benefit. Terrorist organisations are committing genocide in the name of God despite the fact that God’s name commands peace."
Elaborating on this point, His Excellency Hieromonk Grigory, Head of the Patriarchal Council for Contracts with Muslims, said: "Regrettably, today we see that unprincipled people often use religion to manipulate public conscience. This must be universally condemned by religious leaders and all people of goodwill. And in several countries, religious and ethnic minorities have been subject to genocide. In the Holy Gospel we read, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’. And who is your neighbour? The one who is next to you. The one who needs your help. This is not a theory."
Irina Bokova, Honorary President of Alliance for HOPE International and former Director-General of UNESCO, and Professor Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant’Egidio, stressed the importance of dialogue and education as means of combating ignorance and fear.
Bokova said: "There is a very fine line between pride in one’s culture and intolerance to what is different. To walk this fine line, we need understanding and knowledge. Many of these answers come through education, and this requires education systems founded on inclusive principles that combat stereotypes and prejudice. Knowledge does not give us all the answers about living together harmoniously – far from it – but it is an essential antidote to those who exploit ignorance to fuel hatred. With cultural literacy, the dialogue can become open, honest and guided by the willingness to listen."
Professor Impagliazzo added: "We must revive the art of dialogue to consolidate the sense of common destiny. Dialogue is a peaceful discourse nourished by encounters. It is not about attacking one another using words as weapons."
Sheikh Mohammad Mukhtar Ould Ambala, Head of Mauritania’s Fatwa and Grievances Supreme Council, said: "Diversity is a source of wealth for humanity and should not be the cause of clashes. Human fraternity means we should coexist in harmony, live by the rules of justice, peace and freedom, and be tolerant to other people’s differences without any aggression towards them."
Workshops focusing on specific issues that emerged from the main session followed later in the day.