2008-07-19 05:56:20 GMT 2008-07-19 13:56:20 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
MADRID, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese religious leaders called for dialogues between different religions and the creation of a harmonious world at an interfaith conference ended here Friday.
The estrangement, conflicts and wars between different religions and nations would lead to more bloodshed and even more severe natural disasters, said Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China.
Issues like the widening gap between rich and poor, environmental pollution and spreading of HIV/AIDS could only be alleviated or eradicated through the joint efforts of all the people around the world, he told the World Conference on Dialogue, which concluded Friday with a declaration.
Chen said he believed the Madrid meeting would play a significant role in strengthening the bonds among the world major religions, protecting eco-environment and building happy families and harmonious societies.
Xue Cheng, vice president of the Buddhism Association of China, said in his speech that cultural diversity in the human society, like bio-diversity, is not only an objective fact but also an important symbol of human civilizations.
The co-existence and development of different civilizations and cultures call for mutual respect and tolerance among people from different religions and origins, and conflicts and confrontation will only lead to social turbulence, rampant terrorism and even wars, he added.
In China, various religions live in peaceful co-existence, with a common goal of serving the society and benefiting the people, Xue said.
It's fair to say that religions play an important role in building a harmonious society in China, he added.
Around 300 participants, including Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders as well as politicians and experts, attended the three-day gathering.
The meeting was organized by the Islamic World League under an initiative of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah with the aim to achieve concrete results in settling inter-religious disputes and violence.