Philippine President Promotes Interfaith Dialogue to Fight Terror
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Arroyo pushes holding of interfaith dialog to fight terror
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said an interfaith dialogue is the best solution to terrorism as evidenced by peace efforts in Mindanao. Arroyo said in her speech at the launching of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) Asia Pacific and Global Interfaith Dialogue at the Manila Hotel last Friday that inter-faith understanding and dialogue is very essential to stability and progress.
"Faith is the greatest antidote to terrorism," she added. Arroyo urged religious leaders to reach out across cultural and religious barriers saying that what they are doing is just as important as building up military forces to fight terrorism and injustice across the globe. However, she said faith is being used by some sectors to divide, not to unite, and to bring despair and destruction among peoples and nations. "We must not mistake tolerance and understanding of other faiths and belief systems as a blank check for abuse. We must never accept terrorist violence cloaked in religion by anyone at any time. Terrorism is murder and no religion anywhere can abide by the faith of the faithless, value-less terrorists who kill in the name of a false god," Arroyo said. In the Philippines, she said the "vestiges of conflict in Mindanao are finally fading away" due to interfaith dialogue. "I have reached out to lead interfaith dialogue in the Philippines to bring peace and understanding in Mindanao just as I have reached out to our friends and neighbors in Asia to conquer anything that divides us on ethnic or religious lines," Arroyo said. "And if peace is achieved it will be due to interfaith dialogue and the inter-governmental cooperation of friends and neighbors," she added. Arroyo hailed the role of those who "differ with us in faith," referring to Muslim extremists in Mindanao, in breakthroughs achieved in the peace process. "As a result of the progress we have made in Mindanao, I am confident that peace is within our grasp," she said.