Religious believers and men and women of good will are rightly troubled by the fact that religions are increasingly being used in support of violent extremism. Perversely, religions-typically understood by their followers as the foundation of human dignity-are being used to justify killing others.
In response, The Forum for Peace in Muslim Societies and Religions for Peace partnered in convening a very high-level gather of leaders including many Religions for Peace Co-Presidents. The important Abu Dhabi Statement: Rejecting Violent Religious Extremism and Advancing Shared Well-being was produced along with an ambitious action plan.
The Abu Dhabi Statement stresses the importance of a multi-religious approach, noting that it "builds solidarity around areas of shared concern and makes clear that the religious
"other" can be recognized as a moral ally, as opposed to an enemy. It also makes clear that an attack on any religion is-at root-an attack on all."
In Religions for Peace, we agree that Peace is more than the absence of conflict and that it calls each religious community to stand in solidarity with the dignity, vulnerability and well-being of the "other," with the full force of its respective spiritual and moral teachings.
Such teachings are specific to each religious tradition. They include: frank recognition of mutually inflicted injuries, striving for justice, accepting self-sacrifice for the well-being of others, bearing innocent suffering, returning good for evil, seeking and extending forgiveness and reconciliation and expressing unrestricted compassion and love in action.
It is these specifically religious strengths that can go to the roots of the problem of violent religious extremism. Let us continue to respect our differences and work together.
Yours in Peace
In partnership for Peace, I remain
Dr. William F. Vendley
Le 2 janvier 2015