“For billions of people around the world, faith is an essential foundation of life. It provides strength in times of difficulty and an important sense of community. The vast majority of people of faith live in harmony with their neighbours, whatever their creed, but each religion also harbours a strident minority prepared to assert fundamentalist doctrines through bigotry and extreme violence.
These acts are an affront to the heritage and teachings of all major religions. They also contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms the right of all to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It is imperative that the moderate majority is empowered to stand firm against the forces of extremism. But, this can only be achieved through strong leadership. Next month at its forum in Vienna, the Alliance of Civilizations will continue its efforts to unite faiths and cultures. Whether on the world stage or in their communities, religious and cultural leaders have a responsibility to speak the language of tolerance and respect. This is a central message of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Read the rest of this entry