Amman, Jordan - On 28 April 2018, the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World convened its first Steering Committee meeting since its launch at the International Dialogue Centre’s February 2018 high level conference, “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship”.
The Platform is the first official interreligious body established by diverse religious leaders in the Arab region to pursue a jointly agreed strategy and concrete goals, implemented through a joint action plan by its members. The Platform’s membership is an inclusive group of religious leaders and religious organizations in the Arab world. Their collaboration and exchange at the grassroots level aims to enhance social cohesion and to promote peaceful coexistence and common citizenship.
The Secretary General of the International Dialogue Centre, Faisal Bin Muaammar, expressed his hope that “this platform will promote dialogue and respect for diversity by putting in action an effective strategy to implement joint programmes and activities that will promote a culture of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and understanding”.
The Director General of the International Dialogue Centre, Fahad Abualnasr, said “the main goal of this historic Platform is to enhance cooperation between religious leaders and institutions, to support social cohesion and peaceful coexistence”.
The Platform’s steering committee of the Platform discussed the platform’s governance, logistical coordination of its work to promote common citizenship, and the role of the media in supporting the message of the Platform in the Arab region.
Already in in February 2018, the participating high level religious leaders agreed upon the Platform’s main governance document, its “Establishment Agreement”, during the Centre’s conference “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship. The agreement describes the motivation for the Platform’s formation by recalling that “the painful events the Arab world has been experiencing for two decades have given rise to real threats to the diversity of the social fabric. Furthermore, these events are an actual threat to coexistence and cohesion among the religious and ethnic components of the region.”
The agreement prioritizes the Platform’s mandate to initiate a strategy, action plans and programmes to promote dialogue and moderate religious discourse that calls on followers of different religions to coexist, to value diversity, to respect the other, as well as to instill fraternity and common citizenship among followers of different religions and cultures in the region. Upholding human rights, and dignity for all people, irrespective of religious affiliation, race, or culture, is an essential goal of the Platform.
In order to reach these agreed and common goals, the agreement foresees that all members will unite in achieving their shared vision for peace in the region, which can only be achieved through cooperation and understanding among all members of the society, and through a deep, focused, and honest dialogue based on the will to coexist.