Deeply troubled by and strongly condemning the terrorist suicide bombing that killed over 40 Indians in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir, concerned over escalating tensions between the Governments of Pakistan and India, heartened by good will gestures that tamp down escalating tensions, and noting that all countries and communities are vulnerable to terrorism, we hereby call upon all Governments, religious communities and men and women of goodwill to unite to reject all forms of violent extremism, especially violence undertaken in the name of God.
Violent extremism causes the murder of innocents, immense suffering, the erosion of trust between different groups and fuels social hostility. In addition, violent extremist religious ideologies perversely twist and distort the Sacred heritages they purport to represent. Violent religious extremism is not limited to one group, region, culture, religion or historical period. Today, it is a plague to the entire world.
Respectfully, we urge that all religious groups unite in a common rejection of every form of violent religious extremism. These are false religious ideologies of hatred, not Peace. These twisted violent religious ideologies foster the acceptance of barbarism and butchery, justifying them, saying that they are “right.” At bottom, they share in common the fatal flaw of failing to acknowledge and honor universal human dignity which every religion grounds in its own experience of the Sacred.
Today, every person’s security depends upon the security of everyone else. We are no more secure than the least secure among us. Every person needs to unite with everyone else for the protection of all. This is also true of States. Therefore, even as we deeply respect the legal right of each State to defend its security, we are also convinced that States must work together to advance their shared security.
Through the cooperation of all, it will be possible to not only counter violent extremism, but also to build the common good that honours the rights of States as well as the dignity of every person. In the case of India and Pakistan, we urge the United Nations to extend it Good Offices in assisting both States to overcome the differences and difficulties between them that have so painfully burdened the Peoples of both countries.
Religions for Peace —
the world’s largest multi-religious organisation–pledges itself to take action to bring religious leaders together across all boundaries to work together for our shared well-being.
Dr. William F. Vendley
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 eighty national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.
777 United Nations Plaza | New York, NY 10017 USA | Tel: +1 212-687-2163 | Fax: +1 212-983-0098 | www.religionsforpeace.org