Religion Not An Excuse For Violence Says Archbishop As Leaders Unite

Religious leaders are uniting in a call to end to the killing of innocent people in the Middle East.

A joint statement from top Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders follows an unprecedented meeting between leaders of the three faiths in Egypt.

After the meeting, the Archbishop told the BBC that religion is not an excuse for the violence.

Dr Carey organised the meeting which was the first time such senior figures from the three religions have held such focused discussions.

They emerged from the 36-hour meeting urging an end to the violence and the resumption of the Middle East peace process.

Dr Carey told the BBC's World Service World Today programme: "It sends out a very positive message to all those people who think that religion is at the very heart of the problem."

He went on: "We want to see religion very much at the heart of the resolution of conflict."

Dr Carey added: "Our declaration is saying that anything, killing innocent people in the name of God, in the name of religion is wrong, is an evil, whether it is done by Palestinians or Israelis."

The conference was co-hosted by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, al-Sharif Dr Mohamed Sayed Tantawy, the most senior Islamic figure in Egypt. Others included Israeli Foreign Minister Rabbi Michael Melchoir and Palestinian minister Sheikh Talal Sidr