Religion should be bridge between people, says UN chief

Rabat, Jan 26 (IANS) Religion should be a bridge between people, not a wedge, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told participants in conference on religious minorities in Muslim countries in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

“Inter-faith dialogue is necessary and urgent. Religious leaders have a responsibility to help heal differences in their communities,” Xinhua cited the UN Chief as saying at the conference “The Rights of Religious Minorities in predominantly Muslim Lands: Legal Framework and A Call To Action”, which kicked off on Monday.

“There are no quick remedies, and solutions will have to come from within,” he said, calling for common work to preserve and reinforce diversity and dignity across the Middle East.

He noted that the UN will continue to support efforts to end the cycles of violence and discrimination, including through the alliance of civilizations initiative, the human rights up front effort and the recently issued plan of action to prevent violent extremism.

He said the history of the Middle East is rich with examples of co-existence and pluralism, and warned that today’s unresolved conflicts, violent extremism and injustice were endangering the region’s people, destroying centuries-old social fabrics and undermining economic and social progress.

This three-day meeting brings together prominent scholars, experts, religious leaders, and government officials.

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