- Some key concerns expressed about international persecution of religious communities and its impact on communities here in Scotland
- Many expressed a desire that the good practices of interfaith engagement in Scotland were shared internationally
- Concern was expressed of a general lack of religious literacy which in turn leads to people stereotyping communities and to a general misunderstanding of religion and religious diversity
- Concern expressed about religious, moral and philosophical education in schools not being treated seriously by the curriculum, teachers or pupils – it was felt that one period per week was inadequate and not fit for purpose
- Concern that negative media portrayal of religious groups and communities leads to erosion of human rights for those communities (Islam particularly mentioned)
- Concern again that negative media portrayal of religious groups leads to a rise in Hate Crime
- The Sikhs in attendance were very concerned about the erosion of religious rights to wear the 5 ks (particularly the Kirpan) and felt that this was due to lack of education and awareness. This can lead to Sikhs not taking part in wider community activities because of fear of being singled out
- Sikhs present also intimated that there was quite a bit of bullying of Sikhs at school which in turn leads to young Sikhs deciding to cut their hair so that they are not singled out
- It was also recommended that additional ethnic minority languages be taught in schools to assist with the appreciation of diversity
- Lack of human rights can lead to low self esteem which in turn leads to lack of aspirations and can account for poor employment levels in some EM communities
- There was concern that Christians are being ‘silenced’ and that event to speak about your religion in public can lead to condemnation (the Rev David Robertson given as an example)
- Need to ensure that ‘times for reflection’ in local authorities and nationally reflect religious diversity
- Importance of labelling of food so that all communities can adhere to their religious teachings re food consumption
- The linking of rights with responsibilities was discussed in detail
- It was felt strongly that it was a human right to ‘manifest’ ones religion publicly
- The clash of ‘rights’ was discussed particularly the rights of LGBTI and the right of some faith communities (LDS in this instance) to adhere to their particular moral teachings that condemn LGBT marriage and are not comfortable with the way sex education is delivered in schools
- Discussion around the fact that many faith communities support LG rights and it is down to a matter of conscience and there should be no compulsion either to support or condemn LG marriage
- The importance of inclusive language in Human Rights discussion was emphasised
- Religious communities are sometimes excluded from key civic discussions despite the fact that they fill many gaps in the area of ‘social justice’
- Religious ‘clashes’ impact on the way the public view religion – interfaith dialogue is a great counterbalance to this
- Scotland praised as a place where Human Rights and Religious Human Rights were taken seriously
- Discussion around the ‘erosion of truth’ in the media and that media reporting can be blatantly untrue and lead to tensions
- Proposed that young people in school are taught how to dialogue
- Huge stigma in UK of being religious at all
- Is there HR fatigue?
- Danger of complacency and not being aware when human rights are being eroded
- Secular concern that there is religious privilege
NOTES FROM A DIALOGUE ON RELIGION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISED BY INTERFAITH SCOTLAND.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of light. It is associated with the story of Rama and Sita who return from exile having defeated the wicked demon Ravanna. The meaning behind the story is that good overcomes evil. It is a festival of hope. This is the theme of the letter from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.This letter has been sent out to our Hindu contacts with a letter from Archbishop Conti giving the good wishes of the Catholic Bishops, the Committee for Interreligious Dialogue and the Catholic community in Scotland. Here are the letters.
FROM ARCHBISHOP CONTI:
It gives me great pleasure to send greetings and good wishes to you and all Hindus in Scotland as you celebrate the festival of Diwali. I am also happy to send on to you the annual message from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Rome.
The theme of the message is promoting hope among families. Pope Francis believes that it is in the family that “children learn from the example of their parents and family members, and experience the power of hope in strengthening human relationships.” This will lead them “to be heralds of hope to the world.” This is the key message of the festival you are celebrating at the end of this week. Diwali, the festival of Light, through the telling of the story of Rama and Sita, keeps alive the belief that good will prevail even in the darkest of times.
As you celebrate with your families I pray that your children and young people will take to heart the lessons of Diwali and become beacons of hope in our society. In this we are united with all people of faith and goodwill and as the letter from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue says, “may we bring hope’s light to every corner of our world, offering consolation and strength to all in need.”
Once again, on behalf of my colleagues the Bishops of Scotland, on my own behalf and on behalf of our Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, I wish you and all Scottish Hindus a joyful festival of Diwali and every blessing in this coming year.
With all good wishes,
+ Mario Conti
Chair of the Committee for Inter Religious Dialogue of the Catholic Church in Scotland
FROM PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE:
Dear Hindu Friends,
1. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we offer our best wishes as you celebrate Deepavali on 30 October 2016. May your celebrations around the world deepen your familial bonds, and bring joy and peace to your homes and communities.
2. The health of society depends on our familial bonds and yet we know that today the very notion of family is being undermined by a climate that relativizes its essential significance and value. So too, family life is often disrupted by harsh realities such as conflicts, poverty and migration, which have become all too commonplace throughout the world. There are, however, strong signs of renewed hope due to the witness of those who hold fervently to the enduring importance of marriage and family life for the wellbeing of each person and society as a whole. With this abiding respect for the family, and keenly aware of the global challenges daily confronting us, we wish to offer a reflection on how we, Christians and Hindus together, can promote hope in families, thus making our society ever more humane.
3. We know that the family is “humanity’s first school” and that parents are the “primary and principal” educators of their children. It is in the family that children, led by the noble example of their parents and elders, are formed in the values that help them develop into good and responsible human beings. Too often, however, the optimism and idealism of our youth are diminished by circumstances that affect families. It is especially important, therefore, that parents, together with the wider community, instil in their children a sense of hope by guiding them towards a better future and the pursuit of the good, even in the face of adversity.
4. Providing a formation and education in hope is thus a task of paramount importance for families (cf. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, 274-275), as it reflects the divine nature of mercy which embraces the disheartened and gives them purpose. Such an education in hope encourages the young themselves to reach out, in charity and service, to others in need, and so become a light for those in darkness.
5. Families, therefore, are meant to be a “workshop of hope” (Pope Francis, Address at the Prayer Vigil for the Festival of Families, Philadelphia, 26 September 2015), where children learn from the example of their parents and family members, and experience the power of hope in strengthening human relationships, serving those most forgotten in society and overcoming the injustices of our day. Saint John Paul II said that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family” (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 86). If humanity is to prosper and live in peace, then families must embrace this work of nurturing hope and encouraging their children to be heralds of hope to the world.
6. As Christians and Hindus, may we join all people of good will in supporting marriage and family life, and inspiring families to be schools of hope. May we bring hope’s light to every corner of our world, offering consolation and strength to all in need.
We wish you all a joyful Deepavali!
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran
+ Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ
The following correspondence follows on the death of Fr Jacques Hamel.
FROM THE CENTRAL MOSQUE, GLASGOW
Dear Honourable Archbishop Emeritus Mario Joseph Conti,
We are writing to offer our sincere condolences following the horrific murder of your colleague, FatherJacques Hamel of Rouen. This barbaric attack on the Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray during morning Mass on 26th July shocked and saddened our congregation.
Father Jacques Hamel served the Catholic Church for over 50 years and had been a positive ray of light in many peoples lives. His loss will be deeply felt by his family, friends and congregation and our thoughts remain with them in these difficult times.
The Covenant of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the 7th Century to the Christian Monks of Saint Catherine Monastery of Mount Sinai was a pioneering document. It promised freedom of worship, movement as well as security, protection and civic rights.
In a similar spirit, the Muslim Community pledges to work together with the Christian Community in the Abrahamic way of love and mutual understanding to build bridges and overcome the great challenges of our time.
Yaa Rabb Arhamnaa - “My Lord, Have Mercy On Us”
May peace be with you.
Habib ur Rehman Mohammed Ashraf
ARCHBISHOP CONTI'S REPLY
Dear Imam Habib ur Rehman,
Dear President Mohammed Ashraf,
I acknowledge most gratefully what my colleague Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of our Scottish Bishops’ Conference, described as a most kind and thoughtful letter.
I received your letter of 8th August recently in my capacity as Chair of our Conference’s Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, and I am assured that copies of it will be sent to each of the bishop members of the Conference on whose behalf we operate. I am certain that they will be moved, as we were, by the terms of the letter in which you expressed shock and sadness at what you rightly called the “horrific murder of your colleague”, Father Jacques Hamel of Rouen, by those purporting to act in the name of Islam.
What was most deplorable in the attack was that it took place in a church during an act of worship of the God we severally worship and to whom we are ultimately accountable for our deeds, and in whose name we strive to do good. Your letter comforts us above all in the conviction it engenders that we have a common interest and a shared commitment to work together for the respect that our Faiths deserve in our society as agents of reconciliation and of peace.
The aim of our Committee for Interreligious Dialogue is precisely so motivated, and I am glad of the opportunity to assure you of this and to express the gratitude of the Catholic Church to the many we have encountered in our work to date whose words and example have increased our knowledge of and respect for the genuine heart of Islam, of which your letter is further testimony.
I warmly reciprocate your good wishes, with a like prayer for God’s blessing on you and your community,
Yours very sincerely,
Archbishop emeritus of Glasgow,
Chair of the Bishops’ Conference’s
Committee for Interreligious Dialogue.
The western world was shocked to hear of the death of Fr Jacques Hamel who was murdered in Rouen as he was finishing Mass. His death will remind many Catholics of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero who is recognised as a martyr on behalf of the poor in El Salvador. Fr Hamel has also been acknowledged as a martyr for his faith by Pope Francis. Below are two messeages of condolence from the Ahlul Bayt Society and the Muslim Council of Scotland. Many of the responses to Fr Hamel's death have emphasised that these terrible attacks on faith must not undermine good interfaith relations. We must continue to counter hate with love believing that in the end that will win.
AHLUL BAYT SOCIETY
We were so sorry, distraught, and pained to have heard of the brutal and atrocious killing of Father Jacques Hamel. Please accept the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society's deepest condolences, and know that we stand in solidarity, mourning, and prayer along side the Catholic community as we remember the tragic murder of Father Jacques Hamel who was performing Mass before this horrific tragedy took place, and we condemn the attackers vociferously, and pray for peace and harmony and unity.
In affection and shared pain
MUSLIM COUNCIL OF SCOTLAND
Dear Archbishop Emiritus Mario Conti,
Muslim Council of Scotland has been deeply saddened by the callous and brutal
murder of Father Jacques Hamel during morning Mass in his church in Normandy on
Tuesday 26th July.
Although we have become almost accustomed to the horrendous indiscriminate
actions of Daesh, this latest killing has proved once again there is no limit to how low
this group will stoop to illustrate its brutality.
The Convener of MCS Dr Javed Gill said “This is an extremely shocking incident which
has absolutely no justification whatsoever; it has robbed the faith community of a
much loved person, a pillar of his community. We offer our deepest sympathies and
condolences to the family of Father Jaques Hamel and everyone across the Catholic
Church. We also offer our sincere prayers for an end to this horror, which continues
to bring so much pain and distress to so many."
"As Muslims we know the perpetrators of this crime do not represent Islam; yet
through their every action we are learning exactly how far they have transgressed
from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who had
categorically declared that the rights of all religious institutions and personalities
Muslim Council of Scotland is also keen to meet with you, to offer our condolences in
person at this difficult time.
With Peace and Prayers
Dr Javed Gill
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent greetings to the Muslim community as they celebrate Eid this week. This was accompanied by a letter from Archbishop Conti. Here is the letter.
Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,
You are now coming to the end of your annual fast which once again seems particularly arduous to those of us who are not Muslim as it takes place over midsummer with its long hours of daylight. Your commitment to the fast is a great witness of the centrality of God in your lives and a source of inspiration to other faiths. Your faithfulness will no doubt allow you to doubly enjoy the festival of Eid when it comes at the end of the month and I wish you and your families a happy and joyful celebration.
As usual I am forwarding the greetings from Pope Francis and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. This year the letter focuses on mercy which is so central to both our faiths. It talks of the Holy Year of Mercy which Pope Francis instituted last December. In announcing this Holy Year the Pope spoke of the need to foster an encounter with world faiths and prayed that the year might “open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better.” This too is my prayer as I pray with you and the Pontifical Council; “May the Merciful and Almighty God help us to walk always along the path of goodness and compassion!”
Once more I send you my greetings on behalf of my colleagues the Bishops of Scotland and indeed the whole Catholic community in Scotland.
With all good wishes,
+ Mario Conti
Chair of the Committee for Inter Religious Dialogue of the Catholic Church in Scotland
Senior leaders from the Catholic Church and the Muslim community have issued an eight-point joint statement reflecting their shared beliefs.
The document, which is the result of the fourth Catholic-Muslim colloquium on interreligious dialogue, includes a call for basic human rights to be protected by law, a pledge of solidarity with all those in need, a rejection of all forms of proselytism and a focus on the right of young people to an education that is “respectful of diversity”, reports Vatican Radio.
The communiqué came at the conclusion of a two-day meeting at the Vatican entitled ‘Shared values in social and political life: Christian and Muslim perspectives’. Delegates from a dozen different countries came together, organised by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Jordan’s Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. They were joined by Pope Francis on the concluding day.
The eight-point agreement stated:
This week two religious communities have been celebrating important festivals. On 19th of this month the Jain community, who are well known for their commitment to non-violence, celebrated the birth of Mahavira. Mahavira is a revered teacher and prophet regarded as the 24th and last teacher of this era and believed to show the way to salvation. The Committee for Interreligious Dialogue sent on a letter of greeting from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to the Jain community in Scotland.
On 22nd of this month the Jewish community celebrate the festival of Pesach. Often Passover falls round about the same time as Easter but this year it is a month later. This is because every few years the Jews have a leap year, but this one has an extra month and not just an extra day to bring the lunar calendar into line with their agrarian festivals. The Vatican doesn't send greetings to the Jewish community because relations with Jews does not come under the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue but under the Pontifical Council for Ecumenism. This, of course shows the familial relations that we have with our Jewish brothers and sisters. However, our committee sends its own greetings in the name of the Bishops of Scotland and indeed the whole Catholic community. Here is this year's letter:
This year you are celebrating the festival of Pesach at a time when we are all aware of how much the world we live in needs deliverance from poverty, war, injustice and the horror of terrorism. The festival of Pesach is a constant reminder to both our communities of the saving power of our God and that good can, and we believe will, prevail. This means that we have to work together to make God’s justice a reality in our world. If in the past we have done this in isolation from one another, we now have opportunities to get to know one another better and work together for the common good. Our Committee for Interreligious Dialogue exists to do just that.
This year is a special one for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has designated it a Holy Year of Mercy. In announcing this Holy Year the Pope spoke of the need to foster an encounter with world faiths and prayed that the year might “open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better.” He prayed that this would “eliminate every form of close – mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination.”
This year has also been marked by the recent statement from the Vatican entitled ‘The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable’ and the Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity, entitled ‘To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Towards a Partnership between Jews and Christians’. These are indeed hopeful signs and consolidate the good relations between us. I hope and pray that we can make these a reality here in Scotland.
On my own behalf and on behalf of the Scottish Bishops as well as the Committee for Interreligious Dialogue I am delighted to send you and the whole Jewish community in Scotland greetings for a happy Pesach.
With all good wishes,
Yours very sincerely,
+ Mario Conti
We have received several replies. One correspondent wrote,
Many thanks for your good wishes for Pessach. I hope sincerely that wishes expressed in Archbishp's Conti's letter will come true. Our fractured wold needs healing by every possible means. Celebrating our feast of deliverance seems the right festival to pray for the deliverance of all who suffer.
And another: It is a great joy to receive such a wonderful message from Archbishop Conti. Please pass on my good wishes and thanks to him for his continuing support for interreligious dialogue and friendship between our communities.
An article written by Archbishop Tartaglia after the terrorist attacks in Brusselss and taken from the Archdiocese of Glasgow website
Light in the darkness: Archbishop’s Easter article.
Easter comes early this year. Even nature seems to have cottoned on, with gardens already bright and blooming with spring flowers. But Good Friday also came early. The day in which Christians recall the betrayal, torture, humiliation and killing of Jesus has had its clear echo in the pages of our newspapers and the images of rolling news programmes. The horror and injustice of the crucifixion was mirrored in the savage acts of terrorism which brought pain, fear and death to Brussels last week. Closer to home the awful, heartbreaking sorrow of the Virgin Mary, standing close to the cross of her crucified son, finds its echo in the desperate sadness of the family and friends of Paige Doherty, whose murder has shocked Scotland. And in less public, and unreported episodes across the country, people will spend this Easter trying to comprehend the chasm of sadness which has opened up in front of them with the death of a loved one. In 40 years as a priest I have had to try to make sense of tragedies and accidents, illnesses and crimes which have brought devastating sadness into people’s lives. And I quickly learned that the best words to say in such circumstances are those which come spontaneously, as one human being sharing, or trying to share, the pain of another. Pious phrases or trite words of wisdom are of no consolation when people come face to face with the terrible mystery of evil and death. At such times the best thing we can do is to offer the gift of our presence and to express compassion. Compassion comes from two Latin words which mean, literally, to “suffer with”. We “suffer with” those around us whose lives have been torn apart by grief, or pain or loss; those struggling with apparently intolerable burdens. This weekend in our hearts we “suffer with” those families whose loved ones got up on Tuesday morning thinking only of catching their early flight, only for their lives to be cut short, in an instant, as a result of senseless fundamentalist terrorism. And yet, here we are at Easter Sunday… the day of resurrection The bells ring, the Alleluia which has been hushed for the six weeks of Lent, is once more proclaimed joyfully, and we read in our churches the wonderful accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. What has the Easter message to do with the chaos and messiness, the pain and fear of the world around us? How are we to reconcile the concept of the loving, victorious, all powerful God of the resurrection with the mystery of evil? I can do nothing other than turn to the pages of the Gospel. There Jesus says to all the bereaved and to all of us: “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.” And on this Easter Sunday, we all need rest and comfort and re-assurance and light. The God of whom Jesus speaks is not cruel, vengeful or capricious. The God whom Jesus reveals is loving, merciful and just. “Come to me and I will give you rest.” The God of whom Jesus speaks, whom we know as Our Father, only wants the good for his children in this life and in the world to come. And this Easter Sunday holds out to us the greatest of promises – that of life after death. Our earthly existence is such a wonderful gift. God created us for life and freedom. And in this life we are free. We move as we wish. We are not puppets on a string, not robots controlled from afar. We have free will to choose good or evil. And those choices have an impact – sometimes a devastating impact – on others. We are not indestructible, not immune from forces which are too much for us. Our bodies cannot survive everything here on earth. These are the limitations of the human condition. But we are not meant for limitations. We are meant for life and glory. And in the resurrection, neither evil intent, nor human cruelty, nor serious illness, not even death itself had any power over Jesus and neither will they have any power over us. In the resurrection, our bodies will be glorified and will be filled with eternal life. This is the hope that Jesus Christ – and He alone – holds out to us on this Easter day. This is what awaits all those who died in terrible circumstances during this Holy Week. We speed them on to the loving embrace of God with our prayers and supplications. Those who have died have not dropped into nothingness or non-existence. They have gone to God who will love and protect them until we see them again in the life of the world to come. When I was a student, and then a priest in Rome, I would often hear sung the ancient Latin Easter hymn, the Victimae Paschali. It is a powerful piece of theology as well as a wonderful piece of sacred music. In it we hear the words: “Death and life contended, in a vivid battle: the Prince of life, who died, reigns alive.” Those words – telling of the battle between life and death, good and evil - are a summary not just of the world around us, but of our own lives. Every day, in little ways, we fight a battle between right and wrong, between caring and ignoring, between virtue and vice, between giving and taking – such is the stuff of life. But Easter reminds us that, in the end, Good, with a capital “G”, will triumph. In the Catholic Church we are marking this year as a “Year of Mercy” – a time to be ever more convinced that God is always ready to forgive us, if we turn to him in sincere sorrow. In recent days Pope Francis has preached many a sermon, reminding us of this great and consoling truth. Some of his best sermons are preached without words. On Holy Thursday he spoke powerfully about the need for peace, justice, compassion and forgiveness in the world as he knelt to wash the feet of 12 people – 11 of whom were asylum seekers fleeing from violence and war. They came from Mali, Nigeria, Eritrea, India, Syria and Pakistan. "All of us together, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Copts, evangelicals, are brothers, children of the same God, who want to live in peace … Each one of you, each in your religious language, let's pray to the Lord so that this brotherhood is contagious in the world," he said. At its core his message is one of great hope. Easter hope. Human beings have a capacity for great good as well as great evil. And God will not be outdone in mercy – that is the good news, amid so much sad news of this week. May the blessings of the risen and merciful Jesus Christ be with you and your families today and always.
Archbishop Mario Conti has written to the Bahai Council of Scotland with greetings for their new year festival, Naw Ruz, which is celebrated on 21st March each year. The festival comes after three weeks of fasting from food and drink during daylight hours. Here is this year's letter to the Bahai Community:
I am very pleased to send my greetings to the Baha’i Community in Scotland as you celebrate Naw Ruz on 21st March. I hope it is a time of celebration and renewal for you all as you begin another new year.
This year is a special one for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has designated it a Holy Year of Mercy. He wants the Church to show the merciful face of God to all and encourages Catholic to be merciful to others just as God is merciful to us. In announcing this Holy Year the Pope spoke of the need to foster an encounter with world faiths and prayed that the year might “open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better”. He prayed that this would “eliminate every form of close – mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination” – a laudable new year resolution for us all.
Mercy is at the heart of so many of our faiths. Abdu’l Baha, the son of your founder, has said that “the friends of God must manifest the mercy of the Compassionate Lord in the world of existence and show forth the bounty of the visible and invisible King” This echoes the words of our own Holy Father. It’s important at a time when many people associate religion with violence that our faiths bear common witness to the gentleness of God’s mercy. Perhaps this year we can resolve to make mercy a reality in our relations with one another and with all who share our common home.
Finally on my own behalf and on behalf of the Bishops of Scotland as well as our Committee for Interreligious Dialogue I wish you and the whole Baha’i community in Scotland a joyful feast of Naw Ruz and every blessing in this coming year.
With all good wishes,
+ Mario Conti
Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow
Chair of the Committee for Inter Religious Dialogue
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
Executive Summary of the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in
Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities
25th-27th January 2016
WHEREAS, conditions in various parts of the Muslim World have deteriorated dangerously due to the use of violence and armed struggle as a tool for settling conflicts and imposing one's point of view;
WHEREAS, this situation has also weakened the authority of legitimate governments and enabled criminal groups to issue edicts attributed to Islam, but which, in fact, alarmingly distort its fundamental principles and goals in ways that have seriously harmed the population as a whole;
WHEREAS, this year marks the 1,400th anniversary of the Charter of Medina, a constitutional contract between the Prophet Muhammad, God's peace and blessings be upon him, and the people of Medina, which guaranteed the religious liberty of all, regardless of faith;
WHEREAS, hundreds of Muslim scholars and intellectuals from over 120 countries, along with representatives of Islamic and international organizations, as well as leaders from diverse religious groups and nationalities, gathered in Marrakesh on this date to reaffirm the principles of the Charter of Medina at a major conference;
WHEREAS, this conference was held under the auspices of His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and organized jointly by the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs in the Kingdom of Morocco and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies based in the United Arab Emirates;
AND NOTING the gravity of this situation afflicting Muslims as well as peoples of other faiths throughout the world, and after thorough deliberation and discussion, the convened Muslim scholars and intellectuals:
our firm commitment to the principles articulated in the Charter of Medina, whose provisions contained a number of the principles of constitutional contractual citizenship, such as freedom of movement, property ownership, mutual solidarity and defense, as well as principles of justice and equality before the law; and that,
The objectives of the Charter of Medina provide a suitable framework for national constitutions in countries with Muslim majorities, and the United Nations Charter and related documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are in harmony with the Charter of Medina, including consideration for public order.
NOTING FURTHER that deep reflection upon the various crises afflicting humanity underscores the inevitable and urgent need for cooperation among all religious groups, we
AFFIRM HEREBY that such cooperation must be based on a "Common Word," requiring that such cooperation must go beyond mutual tolerance and respect, to providing full protection for the rights and liberties to all religious groups in a civilized manner that eschews coercion, bias, and arrogance.
BASED ON ALL OF THE ABOVE, we hereby:
Call upon Muslim scholars and intellectuals around the world to develop a jurisprudence of the concept of "citizenship" which is inclusive of diverse groups. Such jurisprudence shall be rooted in Islamic tradition and principles and mindful of global changes.
Urge Muslim educational institutions and authorities to conduct a courageous review of educational curricula that addesses honestly and effectively any material that instigates aggression and extremism, leads to war and chaos, and results in the destruction of our shared societies;
Call upon politicians and decision makers to take the political and legal steps necessary to establish a constitutional contractual relationship among its citizens, and to support all formulations and initiatives that aim to fortify relations and understanding among the various religious groups in the Muslim World;
Call upon the educated, artistic, and creative members of our societies, as well as organizations of civil society, to establish a broad movement for the just treatment of religious minorites in Muslim countries and to raise awareness as to their rights, and to work together to ensure the success of these efforts.
Call upon the various religious groups bound by the same national fabric to address their mutual state of selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land; we call upon them to rebuild the past by reviving this tradition of conviviality, and restoring our shared trust that has been eroded by extremists using acts of terror and aggression;
Call upon representatives of the various religions, sects and denominations to confront all forms of religious bigotry, villification, and denegration of what people hold sacred, as well as all speech that promote hatred and bigotry;
AFFIRM that it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries.
January 2016 ,27th