13/05/2024 10:23 AM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.

Organised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and the Muslim World League (MWL)


At the invitation of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and the Muslim World League (MWL), the resolve and determination of global religious leaders, prominent figures, organisations and influential institutions around the world converged to promote harmony in our world and peace within national societies. They convened in an atmosphere of mutual love and understanding at the ‘International Conference of Religious Leaders’ in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia on Tuesday, 7 May 2024 / 28 Shawwal 1445H.

The conference acknowledged that there are different civilisations, and they complement one another. These cultures are diverse, and they socially interact. It also acknowledged that these civilisations have resulted from the cumulative efforts and experiences of nations and their achievements which have enriched humanity as a whole. It is important we leverage human diversity as a source of enrichment and hold onto the true belief that unity is in diversity. Indeed, through this diversity we mutually share, trust, love, and cooperate.

The conference’s collective objectives were to reach a universal consensus within the context of a common civilisational vision that would enhance cooperation and trust among global religious leaders, leverage their commonalities by placing them at the forefront of common principles of human values, promote the values of moderation and harmony, effectively support efforts to advance tolerance and peace, and set rational intellectual-frameworks to immunise against the dangers of extremist ideology and behaviour regardless of its source.

1. Findings

Based on common religious principles, the conference has adopted several important aspiring findings as follows:

1.1 The participants reviewed recent global events and developments and stressed the increasing need for our world to utilise international conflict resolution tools through a sincere will, strong determination and the adoption of wise measures. They reiterated the importance of remembering past historical experiences in order to benefit from their lessons and remain vigilant against history’s tragedies and painful disasters. This is a responsibility that falls upon all the stakeholders from around the world, be it at the national, international and human levels.

1.2 The participants saw this fraternal meeting as an opportunity to express their common visions. They also saw this as an opportunity to help correct the path that much of humanity is currently on – by helping liberate humanity from the shackles of selfishness, materialism and arrogance and by, instead, competing in doing acts of goodness, embracing solidarity, bringing happiness to one another and rebuilding the planet based on the values of love, forgiveness and tolerance.

1.3 Religion should be separated from the damaging acts committed by some of its followers (regardless of the nature, aim and size of these acts). It is unfair to the followers of any religion to be held accountable for the consequences of such isolated incidents.

1.4 Religion should not be taken advantage of in achieving any ends that deviate from its spiritual and reformative purpose, which deviates from the special values it carries in its teachings and the general values that represent common religious values shared with others, or general human common values.

1.5 Humans possess dignity to spread love, mercy, forgiveness and tolerance, and to extend bridges of dialogue and cooperation for the greater good of all. Moreover, they possess the dignity to promote genuine and practical peace initiatives with sincere and wise human cooperation – all under the umbrella of one human family.

1.6 Effective dialogue based on a civilised approach is the best way to resolve conflicts, bridge differences, and overcome fears, misconceptions and prejudices, including dismantling the theory of the inevitable clash of civilisations. Such a dialogue can promote trust, empower love and establish cooperation among all. Also, effective dialogue and rapprochement with good intentions and tangible impact on building bridges of understanding and cooperation is the best way to address extremist ideologies. In addition, effective dialogue is also the best way to overcome the impact of negative perceptions resulting from historical animosities.

1.7 Peaceful coexistence is a necessity of life. It is based on recognising that the human family is one unit, which reflects the importance of promoting human brotherhood in a tangible way, and overcoming fear of the other, selfishness, and all forms of hatred, division and violence.

1.8 The alliance and integration of civilisations is the best model for ridding our world of the dangers of a possible clash of civilisations and all the negative notions that accompany such a prospect – particularly the policies of prejudice and exclusion based on hate and racism.

1.9 Hate and racism are violent sentiments that expose a major flaw in the understanding of religious, national and civil concepts. Such sentiments are the biggest instigators of violence, terrorism and division. They are also the main reasons for why the cohesion of the human moral system is compromised.

1.10 The relationship between the East and the West has a profound history. It is a rational relationship that continually renews. It has contributed to the flourishing of human civilisation through positive openness, mutual trust and effective dialogue. This reaffirms a total conviction that each civilisation needs the other. It also affirms the unique characteristics of each civilisation and its right to exist without offending the followers of the other with hatred, mistrust, the spreading of conspiracy theories, negative generalisations, as well as reckless opinions and interpretations.

2. Recommendations

2.1 We call on the awakened consciousness of the world to forge an honest, just and effective resolve to serve humanity while protecting all of its rights and maintaining the common values that bind humanity together.

2.2 We call on members not to allow societal sentiments to be incited in a way that ignites hostility and division, and undermines national unity by pursuing impulsive or hostile practices – including deliberately spreading misleading and false information.

2.3 We call upon national and religious institutions to confront all forms of discrimination and exclusion against religious, cultural and ethnic minorities; as well as work to create strong and effective legislation to promote values of love, forgiveness and acceptance of the other as brothers and sisters that share the same nation and a common humanity.

2.4 We call upon national and religious institutions to protect the unity of the family as it represents the nucleus of society. We also call on national institutions to pay attention to the quality of education, as both of these are important institutions in soundly moulding the minds of young people.

2.5 We call upon various platforms of influence; especially the media, to remain mindful of the moral responsibility entrusted upon them, as they are the most influential institutions in forming public opinion.

2.6 We call on religious institutions around the world to advance values that highlight forgiveness on strengthening bonds of solidarity and fraternity among human societies, and that reject extremism that incites hatred and takes advantage of religion to create crises and fuel conflicts.

2.7 We condemn all extremist, violent and terrorist practices against followers of any religion and support all sincere initiatives that would ward off such practices.

Issued in Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, 7 May 2024 / 28 Shawwal 1445H

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)