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Interfaith Alliance | 19-20 November 2018 | Abu Dhabi, UAE
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Faith Leaders Discuss How To Respond To Online Child Sexual Abuse

November 20 2018

The second panel discussion of the second day featured Reverend Mitsuo Miyake, Chief Senior Minister, Konko Church of Izu and Director of Arigatou International; Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, Chair of the Emirates Fatwa Council; His Holiness Shri Shri Sugunendra Theertha Swamigi, Abbot and the Head of Sri Puthige Matha; His Grace Francisco Montecillo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio to the UAE and Apostolic Delegate to the Arabian Peninsula; H.E. Sayyed Ali El Amine, Muslim Council of Elders and His Beatitude Sebastian Camacho, Archbishop of the Old Catholic Church, Latin America.

The session focused on the actions which faith communities are able to take in order to tackle the impact of digital technology on young people, and ensure that children are not abused online. The session leaders highlighted the role of parents and families play to ensure that technology was used safely and appropriately, for, as Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah said, “parents are the first to have the prerogative in choosing the child’s upbringing”. There was a consensus amongst the speakers that whilst we are living in a digital and information age in which technology plays a central factor, educating both children and parents on the sensible and informed use of technology is vital.

His Grace Francisco Montecillo Padilla, part of the official Vatican delegation to the event, further emphasised to the conference the importance of education, both in the home but also through implementing formal schooling in curriculums that educate children on how to use online technology ethically. Reverend Mitsuo Miyake made it clear that when forming such policies to overcome child abuse, we must take into account the voices of children and listen to their feedback to develop a system that worked for them. His Beatitude Sebastian Camacho closed the session reflecting on the power of interfaith communities when they are together to be able to change the world around them, and hoped that the assembled gathering here today would lead to such changes regarding online sexual abuse of children.

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