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November 15, 2008 Saturday Ziqa'ad 16, 1429
UN rejects religion’s use to justify killings
By Masood Haider
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 14: A high-level meeting of the United Nations General
Assembly has rejected the use of religion to justify the killing of innocent
people and terrorist acts and voiced concern that serious instances of
intolerance, discrimination and harassment persist between people of different
faiths and cultures.
In a consensus declaration read out by the UN Secretary General, Ban
Ki-moon, at the conclusion of the two-day “Culture of Peace” gathering here on
Thursday, participants called for mutual understanding through dialogue, and
respect for human rights among proponents of various faiths, cultures and
civilisations. The special session was convened at the initiative of King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
“Concerned about serious instances of intolerance, discrimination, hatred
expressions, and harassment of minority religious communities of all faiths,
participating states underlined the importance of promoting dialogue,
understanding and tolerance among human beings, as well as respect for all
their diverse religions, cultures and beliefs,” the declaration said.
“Participating states affirmed their rejection of the use of religion to
justify the killing of innocent people and actions of terrorism, violence and
coercion, which directly contradict the commitment of all religions to peace,
justice and equality,” it added. Mr Ban said the challenge now was to move
beyond “powerful, positive words” to “dialogue that delivers”. Heads of state,
ambassadors and senior officials from some 70 countries addressed the meeting,
including Saudi King Abdullah, US President George Bush, Pakistan President
Asif Ali Zardari, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Israeli President Shimon
Peres, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Jordan’s King Abdullah.
In the declaration, the General Assembly reiterated its call for “promoting a
culture of tolerance and mutual understanding through dialogue, and supporting
the initiatives of religious leaders, civil society, and states seeking to
entrench the culture of peace, understanding, tolerance, and respect for human
rights among the proponents of various faiths, cultures, and civilisations”.
The participating states expressed their commitment to strengthening existing
mechanisms within the United Nations for “promoting tolerance and human rights,
preserving the institution of the family, protecting the environment, spreading
education, eradicating poverty, and fighting drug abuse, crime and terrorism,
noting the positive role of religions, beliefs and moral humanitarian
principles in tackling these challenges”.
Mr Ban voiced deep gratitude to the Saudi leader. “King Abdullah’s initiative
has come at a time when the need for dialogue among religions, cultures and
civilisations has never been greater. It has brought together people who might
not otherwise have a chance to interact. Along with other initiatives, it will
contribute to building a more harmonious world. “The challenge now is to go
beyond the powerful, positive words we have heard these past two days. I pledge
my full support to this effort. It may take time to see results, but I am
convinced that this meeting was an important step forward.”
On Wednesday, at the opening session, General Assembly President Miguel
D’Escoto told participants that the world was facing its most difficult period
since the founding of the UN.
He urged global leaders to use their “moral strength” to find solutions to some
of the greatest problems plaguing the planet, including poverty, hunger and
The DAWN Media Group
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dungu, buas, kejam, keji, ganas, zalim lagi biadab hanyalah Allah fiktif.