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US State Dept. Official Urges People of Faith To Combat Terrorism []

By Michael Jay Friedman
Washington File Staff Writer
March 22, 2006

Washington — U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes called on world youth to launch an "interfaith grassroots campaign" to stigmatize, marginalize and ultimately end terrorism.

Such an effort could prove as successful as the 19th century abolitionist movement that led to outlawing slavery, she told representatives from 29 countries gathered at a Washington conference.

The March 22 International Conference on Faith and Service addressed the theme "Building Bridges Through Interreligious Dialogue and Youth Civic Engagement." It gathered religious and secular leaders for a series of individual speeches, panel discussions and question/answer interchanges with the audience.

The under secretary told the gathering that faith can be a powerful force for good, accomplished through millions of individual acts. Violence and acts of terror are not a matter of religion and are not evidence of a clash of civilizations, she said.

In calling on youth to launch "from this room" the 21st century version of the abolitionist movement, Hughes said that the global anti-slavery effort drew strength from observant men and women acting on their religious convictions of human equality.

Conference participants explored means of collaborating to advance the common purposes shared by diverse religions. They agreed that dialogue and youth service can help reduce global conflict.

In a video greeting, King Abdullah II of Jordan told the conference that the "greatest challenge of our generation is those who seek to divide people of faith."

The Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa seconded this message. "Our destinies are bound up with one another," he told the assemblage. "We can find our true humanity only through one another."

The International Conference on Faith and Service conference was co-convened by the Congressional Education Foundation and the congressionally chartered National Conference on Citizenship, in partnership with Civic Enterprises, the Case Foundation, United Nations Foundation, MCJ Foundation, Universal Peace Federation, Points of Light Foundation and many of the nation’s leading national youth service organizations.

The transcript of Hughes’ remarks is available on the State Department Web site

Additional information on interfaith resources is available on the Case Foundation Web site.


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