It would be an understatement to say that the political use of religion has all too often had a corrosive influence throughout human history. It continues to be the major factor, not only in igniting and sustaining local and regional sectarian violence, but also in underpinning many of the worst and most brutal international conflicts.
Although most of such abuses are carried out today in the name of few religions, it must be recognised that the political use of any religion has led and will always lead to similar results. We are therefore committed to addressing all abuses of all religions.
Though arguably well intentioned, the world’s leading powers have often made grave errors when dealing with religious sensitivities in local and international conflicts, playing into the hands of sectarian and extremist parties.
We need clear rules to oblige these powers to pay greater regard to the balance of religious, political and economic sensitivities when determining courses of action in order to avoid exacerbating such conflicts.
The dangers come not only from those using supposedly divine rights to trample on the rights of others, but also from extreme reactions directed towards innocent people of the same faith as the fanatics.
The world has witnessed too many examples where faith has been used repeatedly to legitimise terrorist attacks and retaliations against immigrants and minorities.
If we do not put in place clear international rules to deal with the root causes, this mad cycle will continue to drag the world deeper into violent chain reactions.
We must not forget that the current murky situation is also allowing vicious political and economic interests to manipulate religious teachings to serve distasteful agendas.
We believe that the time is now right to enact an international treaty to stop the use of any religion to justify any political endeavour that uses religious intolerance and division to its own ends.