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Vatican releases joint Catholic-Islamic statement

A joint Catholic-Islamic committee has issued a statement condemning racism and pledging mutual efforts to promote peaceful and respectful dialogue across ethnic and cultural boundaries.

The Vatican's chief representative on the joint committee was Cardinal Francis Arinze, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue; the Islamic contingent was headed by Kamel al-Sharif, the secretary general of the International Islamic Council for Da'Wah and Relief in Cairo.

The joint committee met in England in July, but the statement ratified by the group was only made public by the Vatican on Friday.

The statement affirmed that both faiths reject racism on the grounds that God "created all people equal in dignity". It went further in condemning racist practices that it said "exist today in many societies".

The representatives accepted responsibility "to endeavour to eliminate misconceptions and prejudices which in turn generate racial discrimination". They called upon "individuals, educational and social institutions, and the media" to join their effort against racism.

They also affirmed that the "adherence to religious values and engaging in dialogue to achieve mutual understanding and mutual respect" are definitely "conducive to a world of justice and peace".

Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue
Columbans: Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee


13 Aug 2002