12/01/2004, 00.00
QATAR - VATICAN
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Christians, Muslims and Jews stand together in defence of the family.

In Doha, an International Conference on the Family against "dehumanising" forces of modernity.

Doha (AsiaNews/Cwn) – An international conference on the family just held in Qatar came out strongly in defence of the "natural family" and against the assimilation into this concept of other unions, which go "against the conscience of humanity". Around 150 representatives of the three, large monotheistic religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – came together over the last few days for the event in Doha. A common commitment was reiterated throughout the conference, to defend the unity and sacredness of the family against radical trends which sought to corrupt its foundation. This corruption could be perpetrated through modern policies like the recognition of same-sex unions.

Several well-known figures participated in the meeting, among them Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, Shenouda III, the Shiekh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), Nobel prize winner for Economics Gary S. Becker and the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed.

In her opening address, Shiekha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Misnad, wife of the emir of Qatar, focused on the family as an element which unites humanity as nothing else does: "There is no common denominator able to unite all people in the world like the firm belief in the sacredness of the family." For this reason, continued Al-Misnad, "all people must forcefully oppose attempts to destroy the unity and concept of the family, and which go against the three monotheistic religions and human conscience". "The call of modernity", continued the Arab first lady, "cannot be taken as a pretext to change religious, cultural and social values which safeguard the institution of the family."

Al-Misnad, president of the Council for Family Affairs in Qatar, proposed the setting up of an international research centre on family studies; the assembly approved her initiative.

Addressing participants of the Conference, Cardinal Trujillo said the family which is based on marriage is under siege, especially as a result of "exacerbated feminism which views marriage and the family as a place of slavery." The Cardinal defined the recognition of same-sex unions as a sign of "dehumanisation". He said: "The family comes before the state" and so "no government has the right to change the definition of marriage or the family".

For this reason, added the Vatican representative, a state must adopt family life as its gauge for policy-making, and further, it must recognise that  "its real interests coincide with those of the family." (LF)
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