Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World hosts Various Initiatives
Preparing for the Founding of an Arab Youth Forum for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue
The international conference on Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship, which was organized by KAICIID in Vienna this past February, witnessed the launch of the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World as an inclusive regional umbrella and an effective tool of cooperation for a framework through which leaders of religious institutions and stakeholders who engage in dialogue work on developing several programmes aiming at fostering coexistence, establishing peace, and promoting peaceful social cohesion and common citizenship. Included amongst its works are programmes that build capacities in various fields, such as: Social Media as a Space for Dialogue, the Arab Region Fellows Programme, and a Network of Muslim and Christian Faculties and Institutes in the Arab world to strengthen the capacities of educators and stakeholders who promote teaching a culture of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
Since its launch, the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World strives to formulate and implement a range of projects and programmes aiming to: Promote communication between religious leaders and institutions and stakeholders who engage in dialogue; coordinate efforts to stand up to the challenges facing Arab societies; strengthen the relationship between individuals and religious leaders and institutions and policy makers on international, regional and national levels in order to achieve the humanitarian objectives contained in the founding document; develop specific programmes and action plans that will contribute to the promotion of peaceful coexistence and support common citizenship at the regional and local levels; and provide religious leaders and institutions and stakeholders who engage in dialogue with all that is necessary to promote dialogue between peoples and strengthen their capacities and performance to fulfil their mission.
The religious leaders and institutions who founded the Platform have researched the importance of launching several local and regional programmes and initiatives to promote coexistence and social cohesion on the basis of common citizenship. Among the suggestions that were presented towards the end of the meeting held in Lebanon was a founding study: Exploring the formation of an Arab Youth Forum for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, in order to promote moderation, understanding and cooperation between communities through deep and meaningful dialogue based on the common goal of coexistence. This was conducted as part of the Arab Region Fellows Programme, as part of the fellows’ initiatives.
As part of the programme, participants engaged in workshops and meetings with religious leaders in Lebanon, as well as tours to promote interreligious dialogue and getting to know the Other through learning about cultures and religious traditions. The aim is to foster an inclusive environment for religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity; support coexistence; and highlight the major goals of religions calling for dialogue and understanding.
KAICIID Board Member Dr. Mohammed Al-Sammak stated: “The Platform is entrusted to work based on the principle that extremism & terrorism are common enemies of humanity; facing them requires effective cooperation based on common values between Muslims & Christians in the region
KAICIID Director General Fahad Abualnasr said: “Our role is to support implementation of the Platform's dialogue activities aiming to enhance peaceful coexistence & common citizenship in the region. We believe that cooperation & inclusion lead to a better future & sustainable solutions”.
Father Matta Zakaria, representative of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II says “Dialogue has become a necessity and we must open our hearts for real transformation, with the aim to coexist and promote social cohesion and common citizenship”.
Sheikh Omar Al-Rosan, representative of the Iftaa’ Department in Jordan, stated that this forum aims to instil the values of dialogue, affirming the principles of common citizenship and communities avoiding the woes of wars and violence, especially those committed in the name of religion, and the dangers of terrorism and extremism.
Mohammed Al-Amine, representative of the Al-Amine Foundation for Dialogue, stated that “There remains a need today for international and regional organizations to coordinate efforts and develop work strategies programmes and to promote a culture of dialogue, formulate moderate religious speech that promotes coexistence, and instil values of diversity.”
Dr. Said Al-Qeeq of Palestine mentioned that this forum promotes communication between various religious leaders, institutions, and stakeholders who engage in dialogue to stand up to the challenges that face Arab societies.