After a visit to the Vatican on September 20, a delegation of the Muslim World League (MWL), an international NGO based in, and funded by, Saudi Arabia, lauded Pope Francis for his past statements rejecting the link between Islam and violence. During their “historic meeting,” MWL Secretary-General Muhammad Abdul-Kareem Al-Issa and the Pope exchanged gifts and reportedly vowed to enhance cooperation “in all areas to achieve common goals, notably the spread of peace and harmony.”
The next day, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the WML held an “informal meeting… during which it was repeated that:
- Religion and violence are incompatible;
- Religions have moral resources capable of contributing to fraternity and peace;
- The phenomenon of fundamentalism, particularly when violent, is troubling and joint efforts are required to counter it, and
- Situations exist where freedom of conscience and of religion are not entirely respected and protected, so there is an urgent need to remedy this, renewing ‘religious discourse’ and reviewing school books.”
The two groups then agreed to establish a joint permanent committee “in the near future” to address these issues.
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