Press Release: Syrian Religious Leaders Unite to Reject Violence and Call for National Reconciliation*
Contact: Ms. Valerie Nash,
Religions for Peace
777 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (+1) 212-687-2163
Larnaca, Cyprus; February 23, 2012 – Religious leaders from Syria urgently called for a peaceful solution and the rejection of all forms of violence regardless of its sources, as the nation undergoes widespread suffering. They were united in their call for the rejection of military and security measures and for the immediate release of prisoners of opinion. They acknowledged the urgent need to preserve religious diversity and respect for human dignity in Syria and committed to working together to advance national reconciliation. Read the summary of the statement here in Arabic and English.
More than 20 senior Muslim and Christian leaders from various denominations in Syria were joined by other leaders and concerned persons at this meeting convened by the Religions for Peace (RfP) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Council. The meeting built upon the RfP MENA Council Marrakesh Declaration (16-17 November 2011), in which more than 70 religious leaders from the region committed to stand in solidarity with all vulnerable communities in MENA, to advocate for full religious freedoms across the region and to call on all religious believers to become a united force to help ensure that governments honor the full rights, protect and serve all of their citizens without exception. Click here for the Marrakesh Declaration in Arabic and English.
At this historic meeting focusing on Syria, the participants strongly rejected violence and the misuse of religions. They called on Syria to embrace all its citizens, with no distinction or discrimination. They reiterated the urgent need to preserve the country’s ethnic, religious and denomination diversity. The leaders pledged to counter all forms of religious incitement, and work together to disseminate messages of moderation, tolerance and rejection of hatred. They firmly committed to support the values of justice, freedom, dignity and equality and promote these as the basis of citizenship for every Syrian citizen.
The participants also called on RfP International for its continued support and the need to follow up on the momentum created by the successful outcomes of this meeting. Dr. William F. Vendley, Religions for Peace International Secretary General, praised the Syrian religious leaders for their united devotion to their country and called on religious believers around the world to pray for Syria in accord with his or her tradition.
RELIGIONS FOR PEACE—the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition—advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than 90 national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.
* This is not the official statement of Religions for Peace or its Religions for Peace Middle East and North Africa Council (RfP-MENA).
For the ECRL-RFP statement on the role of religious communities in the "Arab Spring" click here.
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