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Joint appeal from Christian-Muslim meeting in Amman

(Vatican Radio) A meeting of Christian and Muslim leaders in the Jordanian capital concluded on Wednesday with a joint appeal for the release of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. Participants at the colloquium in Amman, which comes just ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the country, also call for greater solidarity and better religious education for children and young people.

The two day meeting was held under the joint patronage of Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal, founder and president of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In a concluding statement participants also propose a ‘cultural Decalogue’ for all those involved in education to promote the transmission of religious and moral values to the young generations.

At the end of the meeting Philippa Hitchen spoke with Prince El Hassan bin Talal about its achievements and about Pope Francis’ forthcoming visit to the region…

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Please find below the joint appeal released at the end of the May 13th - 14th meeting:


Under the joint patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal and His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (Amman, Jordan) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (Vatican City) held their Third Colloquium in Amman from 13 to 14 May 2014, on the theme “ Meeting Current Challenges through Education”, on the eve of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis which is a source of hope for all peoples of the Holy Land and the region.
The meeting began with moments of silent prayer, invoking God’s help and blessing.

The participants strongly condemned all forms of violence, and most recently the kidnapping of the Nigerian school girls and called for their immediate release, so that they can return to their families and their schools. They also advocated peaceful resolutions to all ongoing conflicts.

The discussion, which took place in an atmosphere of cordiality and friendship, allowed the participants to agree on the following:
- The fundamental institutions for the education of children and youth are the family and the school;
- The importance of proper religious education, in particular for the transmission of religious and moral values;
- The necessary consideration of the dignity of the human person, especially in educational institutions;
- the disregard of the international provisions aimed at guaranteeing the effective respect of fundamental human rights, in particular religious freedom;
- The most urgent challenges to meet include the peaceful resolution of current conflicts, the eradication of poverty and the promotion of the spiritual and moral dimension of life;
- The conviction that religion is not the cause of conflicts, but rather inhumanity and ignorance; consequently integral education is essential;
- Many recalled that religions, properly understood and practiced, are not causes of division and conflicts but rather a necessary factor for reconciliation and peace.
As believers, we hope that human wisdom would always meet the wisdom of God.

Finally, as the future of humanity is in the hands of the young generations, we propose the following Cultural Decalogue for everyone involved in education:

1) Never renounce intellectual curiosity;
2) Have intellectual courage instead of intellectual cowardice;
3) Be humble and intellectually arrogant;
4) Practice intellectual empathy instead of aclosed mindedness;
5) Observe intellectual integrity;
6) Keep your intellectual autonomy;
7) Persevere in the face of surrounding superficiality;
8) Trust reason;
9) Be fair-minded and not intellectually unfair;
10) Consider pluralism as richness, not a threat.

God willing, we will continue our fruitful dialogue through future colloquia and other initiatives.

Amman, 14 May 2014