“I hope religious leaders stand up to all manifestations of hatred and intolerance. Every human being is a brother to man in religion, race, homeland and humanity.”
So spoke His Excellency Mr. Bouabdellah Ghlamallah, President of the Supreme Islamic Council, to the first ever Forum for Promoting the Common Values Among the Followers of Religions. The forum was sponsored by the Muslim World League and held this month in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Muslim World League was established in 1962. Its purpose is to “present the true Islam and its tolerant principles, provide humanitarian aid, extend bridges of dialogue and cooperation with all, engage in positive openness to all cultures and civilizations, follow the path of centrism and moderation to realize the message of Islam and ward off movements calling for extremism, violence and exclusion for a world full of peace, justice and co-existence.”
Pursuant to that purpose, the League sponsored the forum as a means for religious leaders worldwide to meet, communicate, and agree on common values held by all religions. Ninety religious leaders from around the world attended, representing most major denominations, including Sheikh Abdallah ibn Bayyah, Chairman of the Emirates Fatwah Council and President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies; His Excellency Dr. Shawki Ibrahim Allam, Grand Mufti of Egypt; and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.
It was the first multifaith gathering on the Arab peninsula since the times of the Prophet Muhammad.
“The participants saw this fraternal meeting as an opportunity to express their common visions and contribute towards correcting the path that much of humanity is currently on.”
“We will not pay attention to those who ignore, or deny, the necessity of peace and coexistence between followers of religions—the necessity of having mutual respect between them, and their right to exist with dignity,” said Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary General of Muslim World League.
The Forum agreed to work together to produce an “Encyclopedia of Common Human Values,” a religious document for worldwide cooperation between disparate faiths that outlines basic rights and expectations for interfaith governance.
If the events of today’s world (at least those reported in mainstream media) have discouraged you, then the Forum’s Final Communique and Declaration on the Common Human Values is well worth reading. That Final Communique can be found here.
In particular, you may enjoy reading, as I did, the common voice of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus and many others, who said: “The participants saw this fraternal meeting as an opportunity to express their common visions and contribute towards correcting the path that much of humanity is currently on, by helping liberate it from the shackles of ‘selfishness, materialism, and arrogance’ and embracing solidarity, competing in doing acts of goodness, bringing happiness to one another and rebuilding the planet based on the values of love, forgiveness and tolerance that kindle the souls of believers and the truly humane.”
It is a wonderful sentiment—one worthy of the world’s great religious leaders.