Rabbi Calls for 'UN' of Religions

The chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, called on Monday, March 20, for forming a "United Nations" of religions as Jewish and Muslim leaders met in this southern Spanish city to discuss how to achieve mutual understanding and peace.

Rabbi Calls for 'UN' of Religions

Addressing the International Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, Metzger said his idea could "bring a bridge between religions to help the bridge of the diplomatic way," the BBC News Online reported.

The idea has broad support from key participants like Frederico Major, the co-president of the UN-backed Alliance for Civilizations, initiated by Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year.

The four-day forum has the support of the Spanish and Moroccan-backed Three Cultures Foundation, the Edmond de Rothschild and Ford foundations and the Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Prince Al Walid Bin Talal.

It is intended to give participants what is being described as an "open space" to unveil their ideas.

Seville was chosen to host the second form as it stood once as a centre of Islamic culture in Moorish Spain. Brussels hosted last year's conference.

Action Plan

"We must engage in a responsible and serious dialogue," said Falouji.

At round table meetings, participants have committed themselves to drawing up a concrete "action plan" by the time their discussions end Wednesday, March 22, particularly regarding education, said Cyril Dion of the Hommes de Parole (Men of their Word) foundation sponsoring the forum.

The imam of Gaza, Imad al Falouji, said mutual understanding had to be built up.

"We must engage in a responsible and serious dialogue," Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted him as saying.

The religious leaders also called for combating rising extremism, urging moderate scholars and clerics to speak louder.

"Our religions have been taken hostage," warned Andre Azoulay, an adviser to Morocco's King Mohammed VI, claiming that the extremists' message was being heard all too widely.

As a symbol of the forum's keenness to involve young people, invitations went out to around 20 students each attending rabbinical and Qur`ranic schools in Israel, the Netherlands, and New York.

At the Sunday opening ceremony Norway's Grand Rabbi Michael Melchior, a member of the Israeli Knesset, expounded on his Mosaica initiative, launched in 2004 to give 15,000 Palestinian and Israeli schoolchildren access to educational works designed to shatter stereotypical images which Muslims and Jews may have of each other.

Leading Muslims scholars like Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi have said that respecting Islam as a divine faith and recognizing Palestine as a country were essential to break the current impasse in inter-faith dialogue.

Experts have further maintained that the current spree of inter-faith forums cannot bridge the gap between the West and the Muslim world as differences are basically political and not religious.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16