Vienna - "Religions for Peace", a Meeting of more than 600 Religious Leaders

There were over 600 religious leaders in Vienna, representatives of different faith traditions that gathered Wednesday for the ninth World Assembly of "Religions for Peace", whose theme was "Welcoming Others," to address "the growing climate of hostility towards the other" that is felt in the world.


"Religions for Peace," the largest worldwide coalition of religions - of which there are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Shintos, Zoroastrians and Indigenous and traditional religious members - began with a message from UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon:


I am pleased that many of you have shown a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has core values in common with great world religions.  Your work to mobilize communities to support suffering people contributes to our shared development goals.  And the power of religions to promote reconciliation through forgiveness can significantly advance our work to address the root causes of conflicts and achieve lasting peace.

While I applaud the tremendous progress achieved thanks to religions and people of faith, we must acknowledge that there remain disturbing conflicts within and among religious communities.  These divides threaten the shared security that we together are working to achieve.

I call on religious communities, religious leaders and people of faith to confront hostility toward “the other” as an obstacle to our shared security, to reaffirm our common humanity, and to pave the way for greater tolerance and solidarity among all groups.

For its part, the United Nations will continue to support such efforts through its various organizations and agencies, particularly the Alliance of Civilizations, which was established to counter the forces of polarization and improve understanding among cultures and religions.

Together, we can realize the enormous potential of religions to foster true peace.

With this goal in mind, I wish you great success.