Unofficial summary provided by United Nations Press Service
ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) said that dialogue among religions and dialogue among civilizations were very closely linked, and both served to promote understanding and peace. Achieving mutual understanding was key to achieving peaceful coexistence between countries. Morocco especially endorsed the efforts of UNESCO to promote such dialogue, and encouraged all countries to ally themselves with and get involved in UNESCO’s initiatives. Terrorism was a grave concern, requiring efforts to understand diverse cultures and religions and to get at the reasons for the rise of terrorism. Festivals, religious conferences, sports events and other occasions which brought diverse peoples together in recent years had demonstrated that dialogue was a key factor in ensuring peace. Needed in any dialogue was adherence to the principles of acceptance of cultural diversity and tolerance.
The legal tools for ensuring cultural diversity had just been strengthened by UNESCO’s adoption today of new rules in that regard, he said. The media too could help to create a culture of peace by presenting religions as instruments of peace. He welcomed the creation of a working group to mitigate problems of understanding between different cultures and religions. In that regard, he particularly welcomed a project called “Roads of Faith” that involved looking at the three major religions and examining their scriptures. Morocco, because of its geographical location, had been at a crossroads of religions and culture, and had, therefore, played a natural role in promoting religious and cultural dialogue. The new information technologies played a key role in spreading understanding of diverse cultures, and Morocco had contributed to efforts to take advantage of that new capability.