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“Everyone has a responsibility to safeguard religious & cultural diversity” –KAICIID Chief of Staff at Orthodox Assembly

25 June 2015

KAICIID Chief of Staff Fahad Abualnasr spoke at the opening ceremony of the 22nd General Assembly of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, a transnational, inter-parliamentary institution that brings together parliamentarians of the member states aiming at unity in diversity of Orthodox Christians.

Congratulating the Assembly for two decades of achievements in international parliamentary cooperation and partnership with other interreligious and intergovernmental bodies, Mr. Abualnasr emphasized the importance of interreligious cooperation: “Today we discuss «Orthodox Historic Communities in Europe and around the world». Some of those Orthodox historic communities are facing an existential threat created by extremism and violence in the Middle East. We at the International Dialogue Centre, KAICIID, are working hard to support peaceful solutions to this threat.”

Mr. Abualnasr highlighted a number of KAICIID’s initiatives to safeguard religious and cultural diversity, including a project with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention to implement a twelve-month Action Plan to recruit religious leaders from around the world to make a personal commitment to combat the incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes, and the initiatives carried out under the Vienna Declaration.

Speaking of the positive role of religion in the lives of millions of people around the world, Mr. Abualnasr said: “To support diversity, tolerance and social cohesion, we urge governments to call upon the power of religious communities as a force of good. Religious values and religious cooperation in international relations have never been needed more than today.

Through dialogue, we can build sustainable, positive change for all. By promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue between religious leaders, we can support peace, pluralism and coexistence.

All of us have a responsibility to safeguard religious and cultural diversity. We must support the rights of religious communities to continue to live in peace and respect in the homes they have had for centuries. A shared sense of common citizenship in pluralistic societies is of immense benefit to all of us.”