Pope Francis pleaded with the world today to “stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism”.
– “God does not want His name to be used to terrorize people”
The appeal from the pontiff came on the @Pontifex Twitter account on the day – August 22 – that the UN has established as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
“God has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people”, Pope Francis wrote.
“We call upon everyone to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism”.
In his tweet today, the Pope included a #HumanFraternity hashtag in reference to the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together that he signed together with Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque and University in Egypt, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, during a February 2019 visit to the United Arab Emirates.
In that Document, the leaders of worldwide Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam denounced that human fraternity is “torn apart by policies of extremism and division, by systems of unrestrained profit or by hateful ideological tendencies that manipulate the actions and the future of men and women”.
“Religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood”, the two religious leaders clamoured in the Human Fraternity Document.
In the text, the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar also pledged themselves to the path of “dialogue, understanding and the widespread promotion of a culture of tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully”, which they said “would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of humanity”.
– Cardinal Ayuso: instrumentalization of religion for violence is “evil”
Also today, on the UN day against religious violence, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, condemned the instrumentalization of religion to incite violence as “evil”.
“It is important to insist that international law be applied against those who commit these atrocious and abominable acts”, Cardinal Ayuso insisted in an interview with Vatican News.
The cardinal also explained the need today “to continue on the path of education in the true values of religion”. That was something he said was the “responsibility of religious leaders”: “how to educate… in… true values so that a new generation of believers is really, solidly, rooted in the values of their religious tradition”.
Ayuso also stressed the importance of inculcating a sense of citizenship in our common home so as to advance the cause of the “promotion of human rights in respect and reciprocity”.
“I believe that it is always necessary to remind civil and religious authorities that each member of our societies must be protected and valued, so that together we can build social cohesion for the common good [and] so that we can move away from the spectre of exclusivism of all kinds, because only on the basis of difference and respect can we build safer and more protected societies”, Ayuso highlighted.