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Monday, January 26, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee, which held its ninth meeting in the Vatican January 19-20 on the theme "Human Dignity and Humanitarian Rights in Armed Conflicts," issued a press release today in which the members appealed "for continuous prayer for peace" and affirmed "that justice and peace are the basis of relations and of interaction among human persons."

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and head of the Vatican delegation, and Prof. Hamid bin Ahmad AL-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia head of the Islamic delegation, signed the communique.

The document stated that the theme of the meeting "was treated from a religious point of view according to the teaching of our two religious traditions." In addition to an appeal for prayer for peace, the press release appealed for "an immediate end to all conflicts, including all forms of armed conflict, as well as forms of aggression against the security and stability of peoples. We affirm the rights of peoples to self-determination, so that human life be spared, especially that of innocent people, children, women, the elderly and the disabled.

"We appeal for the full respect for humanitarian law and for the rights of civilians ... and prisoners during armed conflict, ... for the preservation of infrastructures, ... for respect for the sacred character of places of worship and for their protection in time of war and in peace. We affirm the right to religious freedom and the practice of our religions according to their peculiarities."

"We are convinced," concludes the document, "that violence generates violence, and that this vicious circle should end. We declare that dialogue is the best way for treating conflicts and wars and for realizing justice and peace among human beings and societies."

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