Religion Cannot Justify Terror, Conclude Faith Leaders

Religious leaders at the World Religions Summit in Moscow issued a final statement on the closing day declaring that religion cannot justify terror.

Some 300 religious leaders from 49 countries have called for religion to be used as a basis for peace and dialogue rather than a source of conflict, reported the Russian news & information agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

“Religious freedom is important in the contemporary world,” read a final statement from the World Religious Summit following a three-day forum, according to the news agency Interfax. “People and groups should be free of coercion. The rights of religious and national minorities should be taken into consideration.”

Summit participants condemned all forms of extremism and terrorism as well as efforts to justify violence using religion as stated in the Resolution.

"We call on all religious people to respect and accept each other despite religious, national or other differences," the statement read.

The Summit was held ahead of the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in St. Petersburg July 15-17. The Summit’s final statement will be presented to the G8 leaders - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In his closing speech at the forum, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II said: "We, representatives of various faiths and denominations, were unanimous in condemning confrontation, intolerance, cruelty and terrorism," according to RIA Novosti.

"When we speak of this in one voice, the heads of states and governments, the public and the faithful should take heed," he said.