Secretary General in the Middle East Council of Churches Dr. Souraya Bachealany participated with in Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies on “Inclusive Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa”, which was opened today in Abhu Dhabi and lasts until November 15. The Forum, held in partnership with Wilton Park Association, affiliated to the British Foreign Ministry and Adyan Foundation, brought together over 50 prominent Muslim, Christian and other religious scholars from the Middle East, along with a number of policy makers from 11 countries around the world.
This dialogue held in the UAE and presided by His Excellence Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies and Chairman of the Fatwa Council of the UAE with the aim of developing a common interfaith understanding and definition of inclusive citizenship in the Middle East as well as exploring how this might be implemented to help tackle exclusion and discrimination and address the root causes of violent extremism.
The dialogue session held today was hosted by Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and by the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, based in Abu Dhabi, and in partnership with the Rashad Centre for Cultural Governance of Adyan Foundation, based in Lebanon.
Opening speakers included Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League and Souraya Bachealany, Secretary-General of the Middle East Council of Churches.
Dr Bachealany expressed her appreciation of this initiative by the Forum and asserted that happiness in our contemporary world was related to such values as justice, freedom, democracy, and Human Rights. All these were correlated or rather conditioned by a real inclusive citizenship protected by international laws.
She added: “We need to make efforts and schedule encounters with spiritual and lay authorities in order to meditate upon the today’s human condition in the Middle East and in the whole world, and to develop a comprehensive roadmap that would restore the violated human dignity, reinforce wavering stability, and build steadfast and fair peace”.
Bachealany emphasized that the Middle East Council of Churches believes that the Churches play a crucial double fold role. First, it is through biblical, theological, and ecumenical studies that give roots to diversity in Christianity, as the theology of unity in diversity, the theology of the other in charity and service, and the social doctrine of the Church. Second, it is by supporting public policies that implement inclusive citizenship, where religious, ethnic, social, and intellectual diversities are encompassed, resulting in laws that protect and enhance this diversity”.
She concluded: “Today, we engage to support you in this honorable endeavor, asking God to endow you with success as your efforts aim at preserving Human Dignity, for man is made on God’s image and likeness.”