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Interreligious Dialogue Must Translate into Action, Leaders Say

"Together we need to deal with the major issues that are haunting the world. But we should also see that religions have been as much part of the problem as part of the solution."
( [email protected] ) Jun 10, 2005 09:53 PM EDT

We now need to 'walk the talk'," said Swami Agnivesh, an Intidan spiritual leader and social activist. "Together we need to deal with the major issues that are haunting the world. But we should also see that religions have been as much part of the problem as part of the solution."

Also in regards to the highly volatile relationship between Christians and Muslims in some parts of the world, the religious leaders called for the nurturing of mutual understanding and action.

“By applying principles of peace, justice and reconciliation, rooted in Islamic and Christian beliefs, as a basis for critical engagement, energies can be turned to a common search for human well-being, dignity and peace,” said Dr Tarek Mitri, a Lebanese Christian sociologist and specialist on the Islamic world.

Geneva-based lecturer in Islamic studies and activist scholar Dr Tariq Ramadan agreed that “something new is needed” to change the “ways of working together” among religions.

“It is now our common challenge to connect our spiritual teachings with our realities. Our world has changed a great deal, we should come with a creative process. We must be less theoretical and more practical in the way we are facing the world.”

Ultimately, Ramadan said, dialogue is the beginning of connecting and changing.

"Interfaith dialogue is not in contradiction with a profound attachment to one's own faith,” said Ramadan “But we can identify what minimum is common and essential to all religions: spirituality, God, the afterlife, justice."

The WCC conference was held from June 7-9 in Geneva, Switzerland, and gathered more than 130 leaders and scholars of 10 major religions.