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Sunday, November 16, 2008

World Charter for Compassion

CAIRO — Eying harmony among followers of different faiths, a website has been launched to help craft a universal platform for compassion between all religions.

"The chief task of our time is to build a global society where people of all persuasions can live together in peace and harmony," U.S. faith scholar Karen Armstrong said on the website.

"If we do not achieve this, it seems unlikely that we will have a viable world to hand on to the next generation."

The brainchild of Armstrong, who wrote 20 books about the common ground among religions, the website,, will allow people worldwide to take part in drafting a groundbreaking, universal platform for compassion.

"The Charter for Compassion is a collaborative effort to build a peaceful and harmonious global community," said a statement on the website.

People of all faiths will be allowed through the website to post their words and stories related to the Charter.

"Over the next months this site will be open for the world to contribute to Charter for Compassion."

Early next year, a Council of Sages, a multi-faith group of high-level religious leaders and thinkers, including Islamic Studies Professor Tariq Ramadan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rabbi Julia Neuberger will use the words submitted and jointly craft the final document.

The Charter will then be signed by religious leaders of all faiths, and promoted and publicized around the world.

"Instead of being seen as part of the problem, the religions could make a vital contribution to this urgent undertaking."

* Golden Rule

The Charter aims to highlight the commonalities among the different religions.

"Bringing together the voices of people from all religions, the Charter seeks to remind the world that while all faiths are not the same, they all share the core principle of compassion and the Golden Rule," reads the charter's initial permeable.

The Golden Rule essentially calls on people to do unto others as they would have done unto them.

The project organizers said the charter will also touch upon some of common misconceptions.

"The Charter will show that the voice of negativity and violence so often associated with religion is the minority and that the voice of compassion is the majority."

It is also meant to highlight ongoing efforts to promote compassion and interfaith dialogue.

"Our goal is to highlight these groups in effort to raise the profile of their work.

"Through the participation of the grassroots, people around the world will expect more out of religious leaders and one another.

"In doing so, the Charter will shift conceptions of religion for all people."

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