World’s Top Religious Leaders Issue Rare Joint Appeal

“Our advice is to make friends to followers of all religions.”

Religion is often viewed as a force that sows divisions between people. But the world’s most prominent religious leaders have come together to present a different vision of how faith can work in the world. 

In a rare move, major religious leaders ― from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama ― issued a joint appeal Wednesday asking people to follow a simple bit of advice: Make friends with people of other faiths.

“Our advice is to make friends to followers of all religions,” Ayatollah Sayyid Fadhel Al-Milani, one of the U.K.’s most senior Shia Muslim clerics, said in a video recording...

Editor's Note: The Sikh representative Bhai Mohinder Singh from the UK's Nishkam Seva Jatha said, "No matter from which side of the mountain you are climbing, we should be helping each other. So that we can all get to the same place. So there's need for people to make friends. 

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...“We cannot deny that in the books of many religions you can find texts that are not very open, even hostile, to people of other faiths,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, when the world’s most important leaders call for friendship, they are in fact affirming a particular way of practicing religion and rejecting another.”

The 22 leaders involved in the appeal represent a wide spectrum of religious beliefs ― Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Each leader contributed a personal statement specifically for the purposes of this project. 

Many more videos from the leaders, with subtitles in different languages,  are available on Make Friends’ YouTube account.

“One of the wonderful things about spending time with people completely unlike you is you discover how much you have in common. The same fears, the same hopes, the same concerns,” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the U.K.’s former chief rabbi.

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