09/23/2005, 00.00
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Inter-faith dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims against consumerism and fundamentalism

by Jihad Issa
Mixed schools and marriages favour better understanding of other religions. But respect for human rights and religious freedom is necessary.

Amman (AsiaNews) – In the Middle East, inter-faith dialogue among the three monotheistic religions—Christianity, Judaism and Islam—must develop based on clarity. This requires knowing each other and finding the common values and elements that link the three traditions.

Such were some of the conclusions reached at a seminar organised by the Arab Working Group on inter-faith dialogue in cooperation with the US Institute of Peace and Justice that was held on September 19-22 in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Around 40 people attended, mostly from the region but one also from the United States.

Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Abdul Salam Abbadi outlined his government's willingness to support the process of dialogue as long as it is based on respect for human rights and religious freedom.

Participants discussed the obstacles dialogue faces such as fundamentalism, mutual ignorance and rejection of diversity as God's will.

Inter-faith dialogue is also developing in other directions, namely via mixed marriages and Muslim students attending Christian schools.

For some time now, Muslim families have in fact been sending their children in increasing numbers to schools run by the Catholic Church.

In its final statement, the seminar condemned consumerism and fundamentalism and called on everyone to protect mixed families, which are too often marginalised and subject to outside pressures.

The message also urged everyone to intensify their efforts in favour of peace in Sudan, Iraq and the Holy Land calling for a Palestinian homeland with "Jerusalem as the capital of every religion".

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