Rabbi Arthur Schneier on urgency of interfaith cooperation

For over half a century, the New York based Appeal of Conscience Foundation has been working to promote peace, reconciliation and interreligious cooperation.

The interfaith coalition of religious and business leaders was set up by Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Arthur Schneier in 1965. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the foundation has rallied religious leaders worldwide to take a stand against terrorism, using their influence to halt violence and promote tolerance and mutual understanding.

A frequent visitor to the Vatican and friend of the past three popes, Rabbi Schneier is one of the few non-Catholics to receive a papal knighthood for his services to religious freedom and interreligious relations. He was back in Rome this week and shared his thoughts with Philippa Hitchen about the challenges of working for interfaith dialogue and cooperation today…

Rabbi Schneier notes that his with the Vatican date back to the days of Pope Paul VI, when he began working together with Church leaders on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, especially for those suffering from the effects of communist oppression.

As a Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Schneier says his greatest inspiration comes from former U.S President Roosevelt’s ‘four freedoms’: freedom of speech and of worship, freedom from fear and from want. They encapsulate, he continues, many of the challenges we’re facing today.