In light of the terrible terrorist attacks during Passover at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue near San Diego, California, at multiple churches on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and other violent acts at Houses of Worship, it is more important than ever for the forces of peace and understanding to unify and expand their efforts to promote interreligious harmony. At the center of this elevated campaign should be the protection of religious sites. These sanctuaries are critical for communities worldwide to freely express their religious and spiritual beliefs, and for the preservation of cultures and traditions that define our humanity.
This Agreement of cooperation is made on this day, 29 April 2019, by and between His Excellency, Dr. Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa of the Muslim World League and Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for the purpose of enhancing the cooperation between their institutions; using interreligious cooperation as a platform for advancing peace, diversity and harmony; and elevating the level of their advocacy for the protections of religious sites worldwide.
- Both parties are interested in working together in connection with the purpose as described in this Agreement.
- In pursuant to this Agreement, the parties agree to carry out their obligations to implement faithfully the terms of this Agreement.
IT IS HEREBY AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
- The parties intend to explore joint efforts to elevate the level of advocacy for the protection of religious sites around the world, whether they are Churches, Mosques, Synagogues or Temples, or other Places of Worship, Veneration or Commemoration, and to call upon all peoples, nations and religious and political leaders to contribute to this effort.
- The parties intend to call on all people, nations and leaders to ensure the sanctity of these places as essential to our common humanity, and the preservation of faiths and cultures, with the guiding principle being that no one should have to risk his or her life to pray, gather for worship, or remember and honor past loved ones.
- The parties intend to call on religious leaders, educators and scholars and all individuals of leadership and influence who are dedicated to the pursuit of teaching the Truth to condemn and reject any form of violence or other crime in the name of religion, which is the greatest crime against religion.
- The parties intend to advocate among all spiritual leaders, and especially those who preach, teach and lead in prayer, to avoid, abandon and condemn hate speech of any kind, bearing in mind that children are not born with fear or hatred, but can be taught to fear and hate.
- The parties intend to direct any leaders with whom they hold influence to disown any form of speech that could be inflammatory or violate the sanctity of human life, with the conviction that religion shall not be misused to teach or inflame the passion of enmity, and that generations of children yet to come rely on our creation of a world where people are no longer taught to hate one another, especially in the name of God, religion, race, ethnicity or national origin.
- The parties intend to work together to build stronger bonds between their institutions and serve as a model for how to promote peace, diversity and interreligious cooperation.
- The parties intend to continue their promotion of interreligious understanding, mutual respect, concord and peace, recognizing both our common humanity and shared roots in our ancestral spiritual father Abraham, and call upon all people of faith to join us in working for and pursuing these goals critical to harmony, prosperity and peace.
God grant that we may be a people who pursue these ends to advance justice, righteousness, mercy and peace.