Vatican and Muslim Leaders Unite Against Racism

Statement of Committee for Islamic-Catholic Dialogue

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Muslim and Vatican representatives jointly rejected racism and called for the building of a world of justice and peace.



Their joint statement was published by the Vatican Press Office, as the result of a meeting of the Catholic Liaison Committee, held in Markfield, England, last month on "Religion and Racism: Towards a Culture of Dialogue."

The objective of the committee, created in May 1998, is to promote dialogue between Christians and Muslims. It comprises representatives of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Al-Azhar Permanent Committee for Dialogue with Monotheist Religions.

Cairo's millennium-old Al-Azhar University is the most prestigious research and study center of the Muslim world.

On this occasion, the Muslim delegation was headed by professor Kamel Al-Sharif, secretary-general of the International Islamic Council for Da'wah and Relief.

Following the debates, the Catholic and Muslim leaders agreed on a number of conclusions, which they expressed in a five-point statement.

"We affirm that our religions both teach that Almighty God has created all people equal in dignity and, therefore, we reject every form of racism," the statement begins.

In the second point, the leaders condemn "the racist practices that exist today in many societies, and we accept our responsibility to endeavor to eliminate misconceptions and prejudices that in turn generate racial discrimination."

In the third place, the Catholic and Muslim representatives "call upon individuals, educational and social institutions, and the media to join this effort against racism."

In the fourth place, the leaders consider "that adherence to religious values and engaging in dialogue to achieve mutual understanding and mutual respect are conducive to a world of justice and peace."

Lastly, the leaders commit themselves "to continue to promote a culture of dialogue and to work together in order to introduce this culture of dialogue into our respective communities and, more specifically, in educational and cultural programs."