World leaders from regions of religious conflict reiterated the call for a culture of peace. As it renewed faith and strengthened dialogue among nations, the High-Level meeting could spark a profound worldwide move toward reconciliation. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said turning to dialogue to settle existing conflicts, or defuse simmering ones, would not yield results unless trust had been woven into the process.
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Ongoing oppression questioned the credibility of any dialogue, which was primarily true in the Arab Levant and Holy Land, and he questioned how dialogue could flourish when Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories persisted. Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, said tolerance and coexistence among religions could only be promoted if dialogue aimed at achieving peace was deepened. He called on all Member States to uphold these core principles and create a culture of tolerance that maintained the right to religious belief and human dignity.
Countries around the globe, from Europe to the Mideast to Asia and the United States, were supporting efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. Conflict did not stem from religion, but the pursuit of narrow political objectives by certain adherents of religions or political ideologies. The representatives of Libya, Guatemala, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, also spoke. General Assembly will reconvene Thursday, 13 November at 10 a. The General Assembly met today to begin its two-day high-level meeting on the culture of peace. It provides information on the observance of the International Day of Non-Violence, and the International Day of Peace, as well as an overview of other regional and global initiatives.
Among the key State-driven initiatives listed in the page report is the World Conference on Dialogue, held in Madrid in July.
The report says that some clerics, academics, and experts representing diverse creeds and belief systems from around the world took part in the Conference. Appropriate modalities for a follow-up to the Conference are being finalized. The report concludes that, given the growing number of actors involved in intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and difficulty of reflecting in a comprehensive manner on new initiatives, the Assembly might focus its future request for reporting on the preparations of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures by the United Nations and other major international actors.
The report encourages United Nations system agencies, funds and programmes to continue focusing their programmes on the various dimensions of the culture of peace, especially at the country level. With that, he called on States to choose between allowing behaviour such as unbridled greed and irrational consumerism to dominate societies, or taking steps to ensure that solidarity and social responsibility become guiding principles.
Among the most burning problems today was the shameful reality that half of humanity subsisted at levels of hunger, malnutrition and poverty that were wholly incompatible with their inherent dignity and rights.
He proposed ways to apply values to achieve that, saying first that great spiritual and moral strength was needed for the kinds of action required, which was why States had gathered today. He also urged returning to faith-based values in efforts to stop polluting the environment.
Despite such difficulties, the Earth had been blessed with great spiritual prophets, saints and sages, who had offered values to societies through the millennia, embodied in text such as the Torah, the Bible, the Koran and the Vedas, and teachings of Buddha, Lao Tzu and Confucius. Discussing the Conference agenda and its proposed outcome document, he said there were references to improving international cooperation in tax matters, as billions of dollars, that could be used for development, were lost annually due to the failure to pay taxes.
To deal with external debt, there was a proposal to identify more effective solutions to that problem, as current ideas had been insufficient. Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said globalization could be a great force for progress as economies merged, cultural boundaries disappeared, and new media brought societies closer together.
At the same time, new fault lines could emerge. The international community was seeing troubling phenomena as communal strife intensified, extremist ideologies were on the rise and societies were more polarized. Peace required more than a competitive equilibrium. For peace to endure, individuals, groups, and nations had to come to respect and understand each other, he said. Interfaith initiatives were addressing that need with greater frequency, and one of the most respected initiatives had been the World Conference on Dialogue, held in Madrid, in July, at the invitation of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
They had pledged to act within their spheres of influence to foster dialogue and cooperation. Ban said the United Nations welcomed the Madrid Conference as a major contribution to its longstanding efforts to promote tolerance and mutual respect. Those efforts assumed shape with initiatives such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, which had been supporting grass-roots civil society projects to help bridge cultural divides. The next forum would be hosted by Turkey in April, next year.
Member States and other groups had put forth other initiatives, he said. But the international community could not be satisfied with declarations of intent and commonality. Dialogue that delivered was needed, along with new partnerships that would continue after the last delegate had gone home. Government officials, grass-roots groups, top executives, philanthropists, academics and others were needed.
Further, he said young people were especially needed. With less ingrained prejudices, they were well placed to approach the unfamiliar -- whether people, customs or ideas -- with open minds. With knowledge and leadership, people could live up to the best of all our traditions. Human beings were created as equals and partners on the planet, and they would live together in peace and harmony or would be inevitably consumed by the flames of misunderstanding, malice and hatred.renlulofuter.tk
'The clash of civilisations?' Sense and nonsense
Throughout history, differences between followers of religion and culture had engendered intolerance, causing devastating wars and bloodshed without any sound logical or ideological justification. It was time to learn from the harsh lessons of the past, and agree on ethics and ideals in which everyone believed. The alienation that affected many young people, leading them to drugs and crime, had become widespread because of the dissolution of family bonds that Almighty God intended to be strong.
Saudi Arabia would continue to extend its hand to everyone advocating peace, justice and tolerance. Indeed, the text emphasized that everyone had the right to freedom of expression, and that the exercise of that right carried special duties for respecting the rights of others and protecting national security, she said, adding that it also requested that a United Nations decade be proclaimed for interreligious dialogue. At the same time, she said the story of faith had too often been twisted into a source of despair among peoples. There were those who wished to instigate religious war, and the challenge was to redeem the true meaning of faith to bring prosperity to the world.
For its part, the Philippines had advocated interfaith dialogue, she said, noting that, for years, it had worked to achieve peace on the island of Mindanao. That peace process recently had been dealt a setback by violence carried out by renegade elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Delegates were present today to bridge the valley that unnecessarily divided them, whether they lived across the street, river, ocean or continent.
With that, she called for adopting the resolution. It had gathered to consolidate relationships in the face of increasingly diverse and intense global challenges, such as new conflicts and civil wars, which had resulted from failures to resolve political issues in many parts of the world. He encouraged intellectual leaders of the followers of the divine religions and other beliefs to start the dialogue, in which the United Nations played a catalytic role, by designating the year as the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, and adopting a resolution to consider as the Year of Rapprochement among Cultures.
Analysis had shown that it was the pursuit of extremism, fanaticism and discrimination that had caused human tragedies, not cultural values or religious beliefs —- indeed, religions provided solutions to problems humanity was facing; it was not the cause of them. That was why clergy, too, were called upon to correct misconceptions. Further, educators should raise awareness with young people, and the media must be positive and more sensitive to the scope of its influence on the public when covering such topics.
Kuwait had also held many regional and international conferences about moderation in Islam, religious tolerance, respect for followers of other religions and refusal to offend religious symbols, among many measures, he said. He also encouraged delegations to commit to banning campaigns that sought to deepen the discord between religions and to undermine the chances of peaceful coexistence for all. The first call to peace between brothers, he said, was Abraham to his nephew Lot. Thus the agenda of nuclear weapons, long-range missiles and terrorism, among others, needed to be changed.
He then recalled the meeting between Emir Feisal and President Weizmann, who met to create an agreement of coexistence between Arabs and the Jewish people. Although the past could not be changed, he urged all in attendance to shape the future, a feasible goal in light of the Saudi proposal promising an Arab peace initiative that emerged from it, one that stated that a military solution would not achieve peace and security.
I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people. Such efforts could produce results that offered global opportunities, while not erasing national identities. While renewing faith and strengthening dialogue among nations, he heralded the high-level meeting as one that could produce such a profound movement of reconciliation throughout the world.
Islam and global dialogue : religious pluralism and the pursuit of peace
As the international community faced many shared and serious global crises, the results of such efforts -- a duty and a responsibility of all States and religious leaders -- would offer new solutions to such old challenges. He noted that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had held a landmark meeting with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and had then convened the Mecca and Madrid conferences, thereby starting the process of breaking down barriers between religions that led up to the discussions today.
Fears, suspicions, even hatred were created by misinformation and stereotypes, and the understanding and trust between peoples of different faiths and cultures had been eroded. He said communication, therefore, was vital, and called for a new, global dialogue among people of different faiths and civilizations. Such a dialogue was essential to reveal commonalities that united humanity, taught respect for differences and exposed fraudulent extremist teachings. In Jordan, interfaith dialogue and understanding had been made priorities. The Amman Message, an explanation of Islam and a call for peaceful coexistence, had been endorsed by the Organization of Islamic States, and was supported by over leading Muslim scholars.
He expressed hope that the next step would be to advance dialogue from the conference rooms into homes, schools, offices and lives.
On the Middle East political conflict, its growing regional and global impacts were noted, especially with young people questioning its relevance to equality, respect and universal justice. He went on to say that the political conflict was the core conflict in the Middle East. It demanded a just, negotiated solution that brought statehood and freedom to the Palestinians, and security and more regional acceptance for Israel. Meanwhile, he said, extremists of all religions -- Muslim, Christian and Jewish -- were thriving on the doubts and divisions. People had different opinions and beliefs.
Increased interaction could promote understanding among people, but it could also strengthen prejudices and stereotypes. Attention was needed from all Member States. While the political leaders of a country could not shoulder the entire responsibility, encouragement and guidance were needed. How to analyze a situation and solve conflicts was important in all of society, including homes, schools and workplaces, she said. One of the basic and most comprehensive sources of human rights was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written and approved by consensus at the United Nations in States were currently celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of that Declaration, which emphasized human dignity and equality, as well as established a solid basis for dialogue between various cultures and civilizations.
The Declaration offered equal and universal human rights to all humans —- men and women, believers and non-believers. It had been, and still was, a great source of inspiration to combat discrimination and marginalization everywhere, she said. The dispute between Israel and the Palestinians was often mentioned as a key issue, symbolizing the breach between the West and the Muslim world.
Finland welcomed and supported serious initiatives to solve that dispute. While it was generally acknowledged that any solution must be based on a two-State model, and on reaching agreement on the status of Palestinian refugees and on Jerusalem, there was, nevertheless, no instant formula for peace.
Finding a solution required negotiations, which were always influenced by national and international political situations. She said Finland considered it self-evident that Israel must immediately cease building settlements, and that the Palestinians must cease their violent attacks on Israeli targets. Other countries and organizations should, above all, support the negotiations and refrain from doing anything that hindered them.
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