PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
FINAL DECLARATION OF ANNUAL MEETING
OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE FOR
OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL
FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE (VATICAN)
THE PERMANENT COMMITTEE OF AL-AZHAR
FOR DIALOGUE AMONG THE
(CAIRO, EGYPT) - ROME, 24-25 FEBRUARY 2009
The Joint Committee for Dialogue, established in 1998, held its
annual meeting in Rome on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 February 2009; it was
jointly presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of
the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and by Prof. Cheikh Ali Abd
al-Baqi Shahata, Secretary General of the Academy for Islamic Research of al-Azhar,
The Catholic delegation was composed of the following:
- Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
- Monsignor Khaled Akasheh
Head Officer for Islam, Pontifical Council for Interreligious
- Dr. Bernard Sabella
Associate Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Bethlehem University.
The al-Azhar delegation was composed of:
- Prof. Cheikh Ala' al-Din Muhammad Isma'il al-Ghabashi Imam of
the Grand Mosque of Rome
- Prof. Cheikh Hamdi Muhammad Dasouqi al-Atrash Imam of the
Mosque of Ostia (Italy).
The participants listened to the presentation of the theme
The Promotion of a Pedagogy and Culture of Peace with Particular Reference to
the Role of Religions from the point of view of Catholics, by Dr Bernard
Sabella, and from the Islamic point of view by Cheikh Ali Shahata.
The discussions took place in a spirit of mutual respect,
openness, and friendship. They were inspired by the conviction of the importance
of good relations between Christians and Muslims and of their specific
contribution to peace in the world.
The participants agreed on the following:
1. Peace and security are much needed in our present world
marked by many conflicts and a feeling of insecurity.
2. Both Christians and Muslims consider peace a gift from God
and, at the same time, the fruit of human endeavor. No true and lasting peace
can be achieved without justice and equality among persons and communities.
3. Religious leaders, especially Muslims and Christians, have
the duty to promote a culture of peace, each within his respective community,
especially through teaching and preaching.
4. A culture of peace should permeate all aspects of life:
religious formation, education, interpersonal relations and the arts in their
diverse forms. To this end, scholastic books should be revised in order not to
contain material which may offend the religious sentiments of other believers,
at times through the erroneous presentation of dogmas, morals or history of
5. The media have a major role and responsibility in the
promotion of positive and respectful relations among the faithful of various
6. Recognizing the strong link between peace and human rights,
special attention was given to the defense of the dignity of the human person
and his/her rights, especially regarding freedom of conscience and of religion.
7. Youth, the future of all religions and of humanity itself,
need special care in order to be protected from fanaticism and violence, and to
become peace builders for a better world.
8. Mindful of the suffering endured by the peoples of the Middle
East due to non-resolved conflicts, the participants, in respect of the
competence of the political leaders, ask to make use, through dialogue, of the
resources of international law to solve the problems at stake in truth and
Grateful to Almighty God for the abundant fruits of this
meeting, the participants agreed to have the next meeting of the Committee in
Cairo, from Tuesday, the 23rd to Wednesday, the 24th
|Cheikh Ali Abd al-Baqi Shahata
Head of al-Azhar
|Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
Head of the Catholic