CEBU CITY: Religious leaders from 15 countries in the
Asia Pacific have called for an end to interfaith conflicts while
promoting dialogues and tolerance among religious groups.
The leaders also discussed the role of interfaith
dialogue and cooperation in dissociating religion from terrorism in
the face of terrorist threats sparked by religious differences.
The gathering called on the media to exercise their
freedom with responsibility, following the conflicts triggered by the
anti-Muslim Danish publication.
The group signed and adopted a two-page Declaration of
the Cebu Dialogue on Regional Interfaith Cooperation for Peace,
Development and Human Dignity on Thursday at the Shangrila's Mactan
Island Resort in Lapu-Lapu City.
Representatives from the 15 participating countries
pledged their commitment to the declaration and in implementing the
plans of action in the document.
Reaching out to each other
Bishop Ephraim Tendero, a member of the Philippine
Interfaith Commission, said the declaration is a comprehensive
statement that sums up each counrty's aspirations in ensuring peace
and security region.
"It calls for better understanding among religious
groups. While we relate with one another, we don't compromise our
distinct beliefs, yet we try to reach out to each other and have
better appreciation of one another", he said.
The three-day dialogue focused on four themes:
interfaith cooperation for regional peace and security; human
dignity, development and interfaith cooperation; and the role of
education and the media in promoting interfaith cooperation.
The delegates also declared to: The declaration
Call on the government to uphold the freedom of
religion in ways that will encourage interfaith dialogue;
Call for increased partnership between governments
and religious groups in addressing violence and all forms of terror
and in working for peace, development and human dignity;
Call on religious groups to develop internal
mechanisms for responding to violence and intolerance against other
Undertake cooperative efforts to help one another in
times of natural disasters; and
Promote interfaith dialogues at the grassroots.