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Peace: Tveit (Wcc), at Human Fraternity Conference, “hard times require brave deeds, in the name of God and in the interest of all men”

“Nowadays, we are living in hard times, which require brave deeds on our part, in the name of God and in the interest of all human beings”. The person who asked religious leaders for “a new social contract” for human fraternity was Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, in the speech he gave today at the Global Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which in the afternoon will also be attended by Pope Francis and by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb. “Since religious leaders and institutions have great influence on guiding people and promoting social cohesion, we must instil the value and concept of citizenship based on diversity, the promotion of religious freedom and solidarity among different religious communities. Along with other players, politicians, law-makers and the media, we must promote a real, shared citizenship. This – I believe – would remarkably contribute to fighting the many forms of exclusivism, discrimination and racism of our times”. A “new social contract” – Tveit then added – is needed “everywhere, but above all in the Middle East, the cradle of our three Abrahamic religions”. In acknowledging that the Palestinian people are those who have been hit the hardest by the lack of a sound citizenship, the general secretary of the WCC ended: “We must take care of everyone’s human rights. Such respect for human rights is – in its deepest sense – a translation of love, of care for others”.

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