Probing ways of bridging religious divide

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Civilisations in Service to Humanity Conference


They took part in the Civilisations in Service to Humanity Conference, held yesterday under the auspices of His Majesty King Hamad at the Gulf Hotel.

“I think this is the natural place for this conference, in Bahrain, where all the nationalities and religions – all the people gathering in one peaceful land,” said Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab.

“This is not the first conference of its kind and I think there will be more conferences like this in the future.”

Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa said Bahrain was an example of how different faiths co-exist. “Bahrain has always been a cradle for lots of civilisations and sects living together for centuries,” he said.

“It is not news to have everyone practicing his religious rituals freely, and we are trying to keep this away from any kind of politicisation and any kind of calls for violence.

“What we are trying to do is to maintain co-existence between different segments of the population – whatever their beliefs or rituals be.

“Also, to keep the issue from politicisation, which I believe is very important at this time. With the waves of violence that we see and the alienation of others, we don’t want to see such things affect the co-existence in Bahrain.”

United Nations resident co-ordinator Peter Grohmann hopes the conference will instil a sense of community in the region.

“We all have our differences and come from different creeds, different cultures and different ethnic backgrounds,” said Mr Grohmann, who gave a speech on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the event.

“It is important that people live together and find peaceful solutions to their conflicts. It is always timely to have these types of events, to bring the different communities together.

“I think it is also significant to have it in Bahrain – after thousands of years of civilisation here, but also I think to have it in a country that has always been very welcoming to different groups from different cultural backgrounds and to integrate them on the same small island is great.”

The UN chief paid tribute to His Majesty for hosting the conference.

He also stressed the need for more global efforts to work out mechanisms to settle conflicts and ward off social violence.


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