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Interfaith meeting on the Arab Spring

Catholic World News - September 11, 2012

Muslim and Christian leaders from throughout the Middle East gathered in Istanbul on September 7-8 to discuss the Arab Spring and peace in the Middle East. Among the Catholic attendees was Father Miguel Ayuso Guixot, the new secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The conference “affirmed that in the new Middle East emerging political cultures should be rooted in a national unity and identity based upon equal citizenship, and the recognition of religious pluralism and cultural diversity,” according to the final communiqué. “Rather than seeing diversity as a problem, participants spoke of it as an asset and source of richness.”

“Authoritarian regimes have too often utilized religions for their own purposes,” the communiqué continued. “Thus, instrumentalized religions can become part of the problem,” but “religions can also be a powerful resource in the transformation of societies in the new Middle East.”

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