(Cairo, Egypt|29 August 2012) Syrian religious leaders as members of the Religions for Peace Syria Working Group met in Cairo on 28-29 August 2012 to address the escalating civil war in Syria and the role of religious collaboration in ending the conflict and building peace.
Under the sponsorship of the Religions for Peace MENA Council, the Religions for Peace Syria Working Group has met in different locations, including in Marrakesh, Morrocco (November 2011) and Larnaca, Cyprus (February 2012). The Working Group has been working on building a Syria-wide, representative and action-oriented interreligious council that can mobilize the peacemaking roles of the Syrian religious communities during the various stages of the conflict.
The Cairo statement: Rightful Cries to Cease Bloodshed in Syria rejects the widespread killings and oppressions in Syria and calls upon the Syrian army to retreat to their barracks and all armed groups of the opposition to stop killing. The statement also called for the release of all political prisoners and abductees and appealed to states and international organizations to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced and refugees and medical treatment for war injured people.
Religious leaders reiterated their people’s demands for freedom, democracy, justice and equality. They commited themselves to further strengthening the emerging interreligious mechanism in Syria to resist escalating sectarian tensions and to spread a message of peace to achieve national reconciliation.
Dr. William F. Vendley the Secretary General of Religions for Peace International and the Interium Secretary General of Religions for Peace MENA Council praised the shared courage of the religious leaders, and stated that “cooperation among the religious groups in Syria is an irreplaceable key to a just peace for all Syrians.”