Leaders of the world’s major religions released a joint appeal this week calling on people of the world to get to know and make friends with people from other faiths.
The statement was made by Pope Francis, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, HH the Dalai Lama, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and many others.
Personal contact can help to counter misperceptions, prejudices and distrust. The appeal was released as a three-minute video on Twitter (#MakeFriends) in 16 languages during a press conference in London on Wednsday.
Each of the leaders contributed a personal statement for this joint appeal. Pope Francis and Rabbi Abraham Skorka demonstrate how their religious experiences have been enriched by their interfaith friendship.
Ayatollah Al-Milani advises people to make friends with followers of all religions. Patriarch Bartholomew calls on the world to “recognize the beauty of God in every living human being”. The Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawki Allam stresses not to focus on differences between religious groups. The Dalai Lama calls for a deepening of spiritual friendship.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says: “One of the wonderful things about spending time with people completely unlike you is that you discover how much you have in common. The same fears, hopes and concerns.” Archbishop of the Church of Sweden Antje Jackelén stresses the importance for society: “This should start a process that will take prejudices away and where new insights and hope is born.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury adds that “It’s not complicated, start with sharing what we all share, which is the pleasure of conversation.”