Intolerance toward others and the wrong thinking which does not believe in diversity or freedom of choice is responsible for global conflicts, a conference of religious and cultural leaders in Vienna heard on Monday.
The event was organized by the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
Speaking at the opening session of the conference, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, stressed the importance of respecting cultural and religious diversity to ensure peace in the world. The MWL chief said: “The religious and cultural conflict is due to a wrong thinking which does not believe, to start with, in the Creator’s way of diversity or the right of choice.
“The values of justice and ethics are not subject to certain theories or contexts and they have many factors in common. In the context of our present diversity, we call for preserving the values of our common humanity, which do not reflect any specific religious, intellectual or cultural characteristic.”
The MWL official said: “The origin of religions has nothing to do with unjust wars and persecutions practiced in their name which have hindered the march of knowledge and enlightenment in the East and West.”
He said: “Islam (and we are speaking here on behalf of the Muslim peoples belonging to the MWL) preserved the dignity of human beings, guaranteed their freedom of choice, and guided them to morality.”
He also noted: “We don’t assume that all people should follow one religion, ideology or philosophy. Islam teaches us that it is impossible, and logic confirms this.
“We call for the preservation of our common human values which do not just articulate a religious, intellectual or cultural property; rather, it expresses our humanity.”
Al-Issa concluded his speech by saying that “only 10 percent of our common principles are sufficient to bring peace and harmony to our world.”
The MWL chief later told reporters: “We have found in this conference — which includes high-level followers of various religions and cultures and a number of prominent intellectuals, politicians and media — international praise for the King Salman Center for Global Peace. Participants noted its importance in establishing peace criteria through moderation.”
Other participants included Sheikh Dr. Saleh bin Abdullah bin Humaid, imam of the Grand Mosque.