During the conference, “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence & Common Citizenship” KAICIID launched a first of its kind platform for the highest leaders of Christian and Muslim communities in the region; the platform will bring them together and provide a space where they can cooperate to jointly promote peace through dialogue. Photo: Daniel Shaked/KAICIID (PRNewsfoto/KAICIID)

Twenty-three of the highest religious authorities from Muslim and Christian institutions across the Arab region today committed to work together to rebuild and protect their communities from the effects of violent extremist rhetoric and actions .

In a historic initiative, they launched the first interreligious platform to advocate for the rights and inclusion of all communities in the Arab World, to combat ideologies exploiting anxiety, and instigating hatred, and sectarianism, and to jointly address the toughest challenges their communities face.

The dialogue platform is the pioneering initiative of the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID).

Speaking at the launch of the platform today, KAICIID Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar said: “For too long, we have allowed religion to be hijacked and used as justification for causing pain and suffering. With the launch of this platform, the leaders of religious communities say ‘enough’ to this manipulation and misuse. There has been enough talk, and not enough action. Through this platform, we will set a visible, tangible example of interreligious cooperation. People need to see that religious communities, working together, are much stronger than any extremists, and that cooperation brings concrete benefits to everyone.”

The members of the platform will work to promote social cohesion and common citizenship in their communities. Some of the planned activities of the platform include training for clergy on how to empower young people to resist violent extremism, and the development of religious education curricula to promote respect for all religions. The members of the platform will also regularly meet with national and regional policymakers to advocate for policies and laws that uphold social cohesion.

The founding members of the platform include Sheikh Dr. Shawki Ibrahim Allam, Grand Mufti of EgyptCardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch Aram I Keshishian, Head of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia,  Sheikh Abdul-Latif Derian, the Grand Mufti of LebanonDr. Tawfeeq bin AbdulAziz AlSediry, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi ArabiaPope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria, and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of AlexandriaSheikh Muhammad Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Patriarch Yohanna X Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, the Grand Scholar Sayed Ali El-Amine, Reverend Dr. Andrea Zaki, Head of the Protestant Community of EgyptDruze Sheikh al-Aql Naim Hassan, Head of the Druze Council in LebanonDr. Hisham Qarisa, Head of Al-Zaytuna University, Tunisia, and Dr. Ahmad Al Abbadi, Secretary General of Al Rabita Al-Muhammadiyah Association for scholars, Morocco.

The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID)

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