— Mohamed ElBaradei
Context: I am an Egyptian Muslim, educated in Cairo and New York, and now living in Vienna. My wife and I have spent half our lives in the North, half in the South. And we have experienced first hand the unique nature of the human family and the common values we all share.
Shakespeare speaks of every single member of that family in The Merchant of Venice, when he asks: "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
And lest we forget:
There is no religion that was founded on intolerance — and no religion that does not value the sanctity of human life.
Judaism asks that we value the beauty and joy of human existence.
Christianity says we should treat our neighbours as we would be treated.
Islam declares that killing one person unjustly is the same as killing all of humanity.
Hinduism recognizes the entire universe as one family.
Buddhism calls on us to cherish the oneness of all creation.
Some would say that it is too idealistic to believe in a society based on tolerance and the sanctity of human life, where borders, nationalities and ideologies are of marginal importance. To those I say, this is not idealism, but rather realism, because history has taught us that war rarely resolves our differences. Force does not heal old wounds; it opens new ones.