Religious leaders denounce violence

Denpasar, Indonesia - Leaders of five of the world's major religions urged an end to the manipulation of religion "for political purposes" after a meeting in Indonesia.

The group included representatives of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, The Los Angeles Times reported.

In a joint statement, the leaders said their colleagues have a duty to denounce violence, especially when it is committed in the name of faith.

"A blessing to all creation, religion is a constant reminder to humanity of the divine spark in every person," the statement said. "Yet, today the world shudders as horrific acts are justified in the name of religion. All too often, hatred and violence replace peace as religion is manipulated for political purposes."

Those attending included Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid and Los Angeles Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Organizers chose the Indonesian island of Bali for the meeting because the island has been the site of several Islamist bombings. The meeting was partly designed as a counterweight to an Iranian conference of Holocaust deniers.