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Jim Carver MEP writes to the Commonwealth Secretary-General


Published Jan 04, 2016

James_Carver.jpegUKIP Commonwealth Spokesman Jim Carver MEP has written to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma expressing concern about the intemperate tone of comments made by religious leaders in the last few weeks and suggesting the Commonwealth should make as its priority to bring together political and religious leaders and provide a platform for dialogue and greater understanding. The letter can be read here, or by clicking the picture.

In his letter Jim Carver, MEP for the West Midlands and UKIP's Commonwealth Spokesman, writes, “The Commonwealth is uniquely placed to undertake this role, and I hope, over the coming months, you, and your successor, will be able to take a lead and promote greater harmony amongst our religious and political leaders.

“In 2007, the Commonwealth gave a lead with the Commonwealth Commission Report on Respect and Understanding; it would be opportune for the Secretariat to revisit and update this report, and ensure support from all member states. In this way, the Commonwealth can give a lead to the rest of the world, and help to diffuse the misunderstandings and misapprehensions that give oxygen to the extremist cause, whilst, at the same time, re-affirming the relevance of Part 4 of the Commonwealth charter, in relation to tolerance, respect and understanding.”

You can read the whole letter in full below:

Dear Excellency,

I write to you as an advocate of the role of the Commonwealth in global affairs, and as a concerned Member of the European Parliament, disturbed by the intemperate tone of comments made by religious leaders over the past week.

Comments from Brunei's Ministry of Religious Affairs, on the celebration of Christmas in Brunei, (which affects a substantial percentage of that country's population), were ill judged and unnecessary. The Islamic faith is generally tolerant of other faiths, but it now seems that some Muslim leaders appear to be turning their backs on tradition, with the assumption that they are seeking to be more confrontational. This, I believe, urgently needs to be chalenged.

Furthermore, I believe the tone of the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments on the threat from Islam to Christianity have, necessarily, been unhelpful to the wider debate. Whilst he may have, quite understandably, been reflecting concerns within specific Christian minority communities in the Middle East, his evocation of Herod is not perhaps the best choice of phrase, specifically as the so-called Islamic State, seek to destroy, not just religious diversity, but also the opportunity for multi-faith dialogue, in areas outside of their wicked influence.

Mankind is in danger of losing the art of dialogue and discussion, with different faiths assuming entrenched positions that lead to misunderstanding and ultimately, conflict.

On the International Day of Peace you wrote; "for there to be peace, building mutual understanding, respect and tolerance between individuals, communities and nations needs to be a global priority". This must now be the priority for the Commonwealth; to bring together political and religious leaders and provide a platform for dialogue and greater understanding. The Commonwealth is uniquely placed to undertake this role, and I hope, over the coming months, you, and your successor, will be able to take a lead and promote greater harmony amongst our religious and political leaders.

In 2007, the Commonwealth gave a lead with the Commonwealth Commission Report on Respect and Understanding; it would be opportune for the Secretariat to revisit and update this report, and ensure support from all member states. In this way, the Commonwealth can give a lead to the rest of the world, and help to diffuse the misunderstandings and misapprehensions that give oxygen to the extremist cause, whilst, at the same time, re-affirming the relevance of Part 4 of the Commonwealth charter, in relation to tolerance, respect and understanding.

Yours sincerely
James Carver MEP

Member of the European Parliament, West Midlands
Commonwealth Spokesman, UK Independence Party

cc. The Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire MP

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