Document of Tolerance and Coexistence launched in Geneva

Sayed Majeed Almisha’al, President of Bahrain’s Islamic Council of Scholars, today launched a “document of tolerance and coexistence” during a side event at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Almisha’al read the 10 points of the statement, in an event entitled “Human Rights and Religious Intolerance”, hosted by the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children.

The document calls for religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence between peoples of all faiths and urges the need for dialogue as the “civilised way of resolving differences between the followers of different religions and sects.” It is also stresses on religious freedom as a human right, arguing against the diminishing of rights on a sectarian basis.

It comes in contradiction with the actions of the Government of Bahrain who yesterday rejected an appeal to dissolve the Islamic Council Scholars, of which Almisha’al is the president. A decision to dissolve the council was taken by a court in January 2014 and upheld yesterday. In a press conference Almisha’al described the decision as “politicised and arbitrary” and insisted that the case would be raised with UN officials in Geneva. A petition by 282 Bahraini religious figures was delivered to the office of the UN Secretary-General last week, calling for support on this issue.

Other panelists during the side event praised the initiative of the document. Dr. Charles Graves, Secretary-General of Interfaith International described the document as “an extremely good reflection” of religious tolerance and coexistence. He highlighted a section of the document that stresses the need for humans to unite along basic common grounds, as an important point that can be a foundation of coexistence.

The document is the first major initiative of the Islamic Council of Scholars following the rejection of its an appeal against its dissolving, underlining their pledge to continue to operate for the good of all the community in Bahrain.

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