Interfaith Leaders Reiterate Peace Commandments of Fasting


A group of interfaith leaders shared the mid-Ramadan observance with members of the Muslim faith by marking the occasion with advocacy for peace, moderation, and mutual understanding. The June 20, 2016 meeting, “Fast For Peace,” was held at the International Peace Institute Middle East and North Africa (IPI-MENA) office in Manama.

Imams, reverends, priests, pastors, scholars and other religious and faith representatives adopted a declaration, “Peace Commandments of Fasting,” that urged all warring parties and entities to choose peaceful and political means to resolve their differences, rather than resort to violence. Dialogue is the only way to achieve lasting and comprehensive solutions, they agreed.

Clerics agreed that while different religions have their own traditions related to fasting, the philosophy behind these practices is universal—the elimination of poverty, hunger and inequality. Participants praised efforts by all religious entities to highlight their respective faiths’ peace commandments.

Religious leaders expressed appreciation for the religious freedom in Bahrain that enabled their exchange of ideas. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Baha’i representatives expressed their best wishes for Muslims during this time, emphasizing the deep-rooted values of peace shared by the fasting practices and rituals of all religions.

The participants strongly rejected acts of violence made in the name of religion, agreeing that all religions’ observance of fasting, lent and other forms of abstinence aim to reinforce the values of peace, solidarity, and mutual respect.

Highlighting their common conviction in the pursuit of peace, the participants appealed to all faith followers to further reflect on the peace reasoning of fasting in religious texts and practices. They commended efforts aiming at peacefully eradicating all forms of incitement to hatred, segregation, and the violation of the freedom of faith.

Reiterating their dedication to the IPI-MENA Interfaith Dialogue, they committed to devote efforts in the holy month of Ramadan, and other faiths’ similar observances, to the promotion of commandments of peace in fasting, and the rest of daily life.

They called on all believers to stand together, speak out and act against violent extremism, and all forms of sectarianism, hatred, exclusion and segregation. They urged all religious fora to further commit to serving all causes of peace through education, gender equity and inter-religious dialogue.

The participants concluded:

  • We further value the importance of value-based advocacy and preaching in favor of fasting that means abstaining from all sorts of violence, aggression and discrimination.
  • We renew our call on all educational, spiritual and cultural institutions to further promote fasting commandments of peace as enshrined in all beliefs and faiths.
  • We call on further scriptural reasoning to demonstrate common peace values in fasting and other commandments within all religions and faiths.
  • No single cause deserves one single drop of blood.

Download the Final Declaration

Related Coverage in Arabic:
Bahrain TV (June 22, 2016)