A group of the world’s most respected Islamic scholars, faith leaders joined by experts from governments, and representatives of civil society organisations signed on Tuesday a new charter to build global peace, based on tolerance and religious freedom.
Launched and endorsed during the final day of the sixth Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi, the “New Alliance of Virtue”, aims to elevate religious freedom, cooperation, and tolerance from mere possibilities to necessary ethical commitments and legal obligations, especially in relation to the protection of places of worship whose attacks have threatened freedom of religion in many parts of the world.
The three-day interfaith meeting was held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the theme “The Role of Religions in Promoting Tolerance: From Possibility to Necessity”.
This Charter includes the following terms:
- Alliance of Virtue refers, from the Islamic perspective, to the pre-Islamic pact that was founded on virtue, honourable character, and the noble values held in common among the human family regardless of tribal, ethnic, or religious affiliation.
- New Alliance of Virtue refers to the covenant detailed in this Charter; it calls for the elevation of virtues as understood by the three Abrahamic religions in the service of peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding between all people irrespective of race, ethnicity, or religion.
- Abrahamic Family refers to the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths, but lifts up values shared by so many of the world’s faith traditions.
- Strands of virtue refers to those people who hold on to the shared values of humanity, and who love peace, justice, tolerance, and respect for all people.
- Rights: There are at least two ways to conceptualise human rights. One is rights created by governments, which are of most value when they apply to all and reflect norms of human dignity and justice. Another is rights that exist prior to the state and inhere in each human being by virtue of his or her existence.
- Values: Values have two dimensions: personal virtues, such as mercy and altruism, and civic virtues, such as hospitality, neighbour lines, solidarity, and aid to those in need.