The 15th International Muslim Forum
“Interreligious dialogue in response to the post-secular world:
the search for interaction platforms »
December 9-11, 2019
We, participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum / IMF /, organized in Berlin by the Permanent Secretariat of the IMF (Moscow), the Religious Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation (Moscow), and the Islamic Federation of Berlin, having discussed the moral and legal grounds, prerequisites, and prospects for further development of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in response to the modern universal human civilizational and geopolitical process, are herewith for the following:
1. Communication of nations, communities, and cultures based on the desire for mutual comprehension and cooperation is natural, stemming from the moral nature of man. In the light of the migration processes that have taken up an all-embracing and irreversible nature, due to both economic and environmental factors, as well as military operations, the inter-civilizational and interreligious dialogue becomes not only an uncontested condition for the sustainable development of communities; it is being transformed from transnational cross-border phenomenon into the process, which holds modern societies together from the inside at the level of local communities, professional guilds, the humanitarian sphere from philosophy, literature, and visual arts to charity and volunteer movements. In this regard, participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum highlight the great importance of creating and developing platforms and initiatives that help representatives of different cultures understand each other and overcome various prejudices.
2. In the modern world, religious doctrines, as well as the spiritual leaders and religious figures representing them should not proceed from the position of mobilizing believers for a particular conflict that has an interracial, interreligious, or interethnic basis. The religious factor should be used as a means of humanizing international relations and relationships within communities, while religious leaders should play the role of peacekeepers. Competitiveness in the degree of influence on the society and the authorities in the relationships of religious institutions should give way to mutual support and protection in the name of peace and well-being of peoples.
3. At the same time, participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum urge modern secular societies to overcome prejudices and, to a certain extent, the neglect of religious morality and of the religious view of the universe, but to discern and see the true value in the moral foundations of religious doctrines and their role in the ethical development of mankind. Recognizing that the hard-shell and non-compromising execution of the ritual part of religious doctrines and their normative component will lose their relevance for many believers of different traditions over time, transform, and adapt to modern conditions, the Forum participants are convinced of the enduring role of the moral foundations of the world religions and their decisive importance for the ethical and psychological well-being of individuals, families, and the society as a whole.
4. As a matter of discussions and joint efforts of religious institutes of various spiritual traditions, there appear not only mutual comprehension initiatives, joint charitable undertakings, or projects in the field of science and culture, but also a thorough understanding of the moral challenges and issues that modernity presents to humanity in connection with the uneven development of science and technology.
5. We ought to give a high appraisal of the history-making visit of Pope Francis to the Arabian Peninsula in February 2019 and the declaration signed during this visit between Francis and Sheikh of Al-Azhar University Ahmad al-Tayeb and aimed at strengthening religious tolerance, and, in particular, of those provisions thereof that call for the fullness of the civil rights of representatives from all religions, regardless of whether they occupy a dominant position in terms of numbers or not.
6. Participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum express their solidarity with communities, which have faced discrimination, expulsion from their native lands, or application of the principle of collective responsibility on religious or ethnic grounds. Most notably, the fate of the Christians in the Middle East and the Muslims in Southeast Asia and China, who are religious minorities in their states, sounds a special alarm and is of particular concern and empathy. We urge governments to direct efforts to improve the situation of their citizens, who do not belong to the numerically predominant religion, to strengthen their statehood, taking into account cultural diversity based on civic rather than religious or ethnic identities.
7. Participants in the 15th International Muslim Forum pay tribute of respect to the memory of the Russian Muslim thinker and enlightener Mufti Rizaetdin Fakhretdin (1859-1936), whose 160th anniversary is celebrated in 2019, as well as to the memory of the Pakistani Muslim thinker and scholar Fazlur Rahman Malik (1919-1988), whose 100th anniversary is also celebrated this year.
8. Confirming the high relevance of the platform of the International Muslim Forum, especially for secular states characterized by cultural diversity, the participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum express their willingness to continue cooperation, which includes intellectual and scientific exchange, joint humanitarian initiatives, and interchange of ideas on the most important issues of the current agenda.
9. Participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum speak out in favor of the preservation of the diversity of world culture and stand for the development of languages, traditions, cultures, humanitarian knowledge, education, and upbringing in the mother tongues, as well as for the multilingual education, which allows preserving and developing the vast cultural and linguistic variety of the peoples of the world.
10. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Allies in the Second World War and the liberation of Europe from Nazism, as well as the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, we call for the remembrance of the great feat of our ancestors, who saved humanity from the terrible threat and provided the foundations for the peaceful coexistence of humankind. Now it is necessary not to allow new acts of totalitarianism, war and violence, persecutions on religious and ethnic grounds, to observe human rights all over the world