A number of participants at the opening session of the 13th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, which launched began on Tuesday under the theme "Religions and Human Rights," stressed that human rights have become a global issue of concern to the international community, necessitating united efforts to protect and fulfill them without discrimination of colour, religion or race.
They highlighted the importance of not taking religions as pretext for acts of extremism and violence, and called for preserving human dignity, love, peace and solidarity among the followers of the three heavenly religions, and excluding extremism and hatred.
They also commended Qatar's Emir, government and people for organising the conference and its continuation over the past years, which shows its effectiveness and positive role in dialogue and emphasising commonalities and narrowing the scope of disagreement.
Abdelfattah Mourou, first deputy speaker of the Tunisian parliament, said that religions should not be used as a means to violate rights and destroy human values that are cherished by the divine religions and presented to humanity to become international conventions, pointing out man was created to be honored rather than humiliated.
He called for awareness and thinking in order to understand the realities of the universe.
He stressed the need for religious people to stand united against every demonstration that harms human rights and turns them into a tool for aggression.
Rabbi Dr Reuven Firestone of the Hebrew Union College in the United States said that the conference provides support for the values of dialogue, noting that all religions seek human dignity and are based on love, which must overcome all stereotypes and negative restrictions that harm these values, stressing the need to search for common denominators and consider people as of one origin.
Dr Firestone also called for the protection of freedom of thought, justice, understanding and not to abuse religions and their followers or discrimination on the basis of religion, colour and sex.
He cited the practices of a number of countries in this regard, including the Israeli entity for its abuse of the Palestinians and their rights, and rejection of African refugees.
Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili of the Evangelical Baptist Church of the Republic of Georgia spoke of peace and human dignity, their foundations and the need to respect human rights as universal rights that all religions call for their protection.
Dr Aisha Yousef al-Mannai, director of Muhammad Bin Hamad Al-Thani Centre for Muslim Contribution to Civilisation, chaired the opening session, during which she spoke about the conference and its objectives.
She said that the continuation of the event every year reflects the cultural and humanitarian face of Qatar in spreading the culture of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence among societies and religion followers, emphasising the tolerance of Islam and its call for peace and human dignity.
Al-Mannai added that heavenly religions call for preserving human rights, while international charters and treaties as well as reason and logic urge a safe and secure life free of fear and injustice.
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