28 May 2003


Amman, Jordan


The World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) convened an international

conference from 27-28 May in the Jordanian capital, Amman, to discuss the

crisis in Iraq, in view of the devastating and catastrophic consequences and

repercussions resulting from the former regime, the war and the occupation.

WCRP hosted religious leaders representing all of the religious communities

in Iraq, together with international religious leaders, intellectuals,

diplomats and members of international humanitarian agencies.


The discussions focused on the humanitarian, political and economic

dimensions of the crisis in Iraq. The goals of the meeting included

examining  (1) The current humanitarian crisis and the ways in which

multireligious cooperation can be strengthened as a mode of response.  (2)

Iraqi religious traditions of mutual acceptance and co-existence, which can

form a basis for the building of Iraq’s future. (3) Governance in Iraq under

occupation and its impact on the current realities and future expectations.

(4) The role of the United Nations in a just international order, and its

relationship to current realities in Iraq.  And, (5) The need for

cooperation among the religious groups in Iraq in building a better future

in Iraq.


The Iraqi religious leaders were unanimous in expressing appreciation for

the good offices of HRH Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, the Moderator of WCRP.


The Iraqi religious leaders made the following recommendations, which were

also endorsed by the full conference.


First, that international institutions and agencies increase their provision

of humanitarian assistance through a greater cooperation with Iraqi

religious and other social institutions, including representatives of women

and youth groups.


Second, a demand that the Coalition Forces abide by their full

responsibilities as a de facto Occupying Power in compliance with all

relevant international treaties, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention

and the relevant Hague Conventions on the protection of civilians and the

provision of the necessary humanitarian requirements for occupied



Third, that a temporary Iraqi national government be formed as soon as

possible to administer the affairs and achieve the objectives of the Iraqi

people during the transition.


Fourth, that an Iraqi mechanism be formed to provide advice to the Special

Representative of the United Nations.


Fifth, that the permanent Iraqi government be built on the basis of direct,

free, democratic elections, a constitution and the rule of law that protects

equally all religious, ethnic and national groupings, while maintaining Iraq

‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity.


Sixth, that WCRP, an international multireligious organization accredited to

the United Nations, be mandated to follow up the decisions and

recommendations of this conference in partnership with the Iraqi religious



Seventh, that WCRP be invited to work in partnership with the Iraqi

religious leaders regarding future conferences to be held in Baghdad and

their formation of an Iraqi multireligious Council.


Thanks be to God.











First Meeting of IRAQ’S Religious Groups Calls for Direct, Free and

Democratic Elections; a Constitution, and the Rule of Law.


Religious Groups Advocate Greater Cooperation with Iraqi Religious

Institutions in Humanitarian Assistance Efforts, and Continued Support from

Religious Communities Worldwide.


AMMAN, Jordan, (May 28) – Representatives of each of Iraq’s major religious

groups – including Shi'ite, Sunni, and Christian leaders – today rejected

violence and called for common action to build a just society in Iraq.  The

meeting in Amman, Jordan, titled „Rejecting Violence and Promoting Peace

with Justice,” was convened by the World Conference on Religion and Peace,

and hosted by its Moderator, His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talal

of Jordan.  This was the first time representatives of all Iraqi religions

met since Saddam Hussein took power.


Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, said, „In these troubled times, Iraq’s religious

leaders give Iraqis a message of hope.  Saving lives and upholding the

dignity of the Iraqi people is our sole aim in coming together.  Pledging

common action to assure a just society in Iraq, these religious leaders

demonstrate that religion can be a powerful force for peace and for

affirming our common humanity.”


In a "Joint Statement of Representatives of Iraq's Religious Communities"

adopted at the conclusion of the meeting, representatives of Iraq’s

religious communities demanded that coalition forces abide by their full

responsibilities as a de facto occupying power under international law,

particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Hague

Conventions. The statement further called on coalition forces to provide

effective security to assure that all Iraqis are safe and protected in their

persons, households, and communities.


The consensus statement called on international institutions and agencies to

enhance the delivery of humanitarian assistance through greater cooperation

with Iraqi religious and other social institutions, including women's and

youth groups.


The statement also called for an immediate temporary Iraqi national

government, to be followed by a permanent Iraqi government built on the

basis of direct, free and democratic elections, a constitution, and the rule

of law that protects equally all religious, ethnic and national groupings.


Further, the religious leaders called for the creation of an Iraqi mechanism

to provide advice on the situation in Iraq to the United Nations Secretary

General’s Special Representative.


Finally, the leaders urged the international community to follow through on

these recommendations, and invited the World Conference on Religion and

Peace to work in partnership with Iraq’s religious communities to achieve

these goals.


Dr. Vendley said, „The Iraqi people can be gratified that their religious

leaders have begun the critically important process of healing.  Religious

networks are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of our time, during

times of conflict and during times of reconstruction.  This week’s

conference demonstrates that collaboration of Irraq’s religious communities

is possible, is already a powerful tool to meet the needs of the Iraqi

people, and needs to be further strengthened.”


Attending the conference were representatives of the following Shi’ite


Participants close to Sayyed Ali al-Sestani also attended.


Sheikh Ahmed al-Qubiesy attended on behalf of Iraq’s Sunni community.

Christian leaders also participated, including the Chaldean Catholic

Archbishop of Baghdad Emanuael Deli.


In all, more than 20 representatives of Iraq’s religious communities

attended, joined in solidarity by more than 40 international religious



The World Conference on Religion and Peace is the largest world-wide

coalition of representatives of the major religions, committed to take

common action to promote peace.


This posting kindly submitted for publication by e-PRAXIS by the office of

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Majlis El Hassan, Amman, Hashemite Kingdom

of Jordan. For further enquiries, please contact Sue Paton, Personal

Assistant, Majlis El Hassan Amman, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. E-mail:

Edited and compiled by Rev. Gary Leonard



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Rev. Gary S D Leonard

PRAXIS Trust, Durban, South Africa