Washington: Amid increasing religious intolerance in the Middle East with the rise of ISIS, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday invoked Mahatma Gandhi to convey the message that every religion embraces the importance of charity, compassion and hope for human improvement.
"I see that for all of the challenges, -- all of the differences that we see, each major religion of the world and each great philosophy of life shares with everybody a universal sense of values -- a moral truth based on the dignity of all human beings," Kerry said in his speech at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan.
"Think about it. For instance, Gandhi called the world's religions -- all of them -- beautiful flowers from the same garden. Every religion embraces a form of the Golden Rule and the supreme importance of charity, compassion, and hope for human improvement," Kerry said.
"Accountable governance is also measured by the independence of a judiciary; by the health of the civil society; by the ability of every individual to enjoy basic freedoms of thought, speech, and religion, and to engage in political expression of political views," he said.
In his speech, the US Secretary of State mentioned ISIS or Daesh, which he said has successfully recruited Central Asians both in their home countries and those living abroad. "We know this. We also know that Daesh has attracted fighters from dozens of countries, including the United States, to its cause using the internet and social media," he said.
Stating that the US has a strategy in place that has degraded Daesh's leadership and has weakened the group in key areas, he alleged that they have nothing real to offer anybody except destruction and a compelling notion that everybody must live and act the way they want them to, and even to kill those who decide they have a different idea about life.
"They kill people for who they are. They kill people for their religion. They kill people for their background. They force women into slavery, and they institutionalise rape as a matter of life, somehow an expression of God's will if it occurs to non-Muslims," he said. "Daesh is doomed to fail, but it has the ability to inflict immense suffering along the way -- yes," he asserted.
"The bottom line is that good people everywhere are coming together and taking a stand, and we will not be intimidated by terrorists. We will not be divided by people who stand for everything that we oppose, and we will not allow our future to be shaped by the forces of ignorance and hate," Kerry said.
"And this means that our strategy must have the support of religious authorities, educators, and citizens who discredit hateful doctrines and help to build stronger and more resilient communities. And the more united and proud of their institutions the citizens of a country are, the more effective they will be in resisting and fighting back against the agents of terror," Kerry said.