Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland spoke as guest of honour at a Faith in the Commonwealth seminar in Malaysia, organised by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council and held at the Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization in Kuala Lumpur.
Faith in the Commonwealth is a partnership with the Khalili Foundation that brings young people together to talk about global citizenship and understanding between faiths.
In her keynote address the Secretary-General described the Commonwealth’s efforts to "build mutual respect and shape a world that is more just, more equitable and more inclusive."
She stressed the importance of working with young people and emerging leaders to secure peace and hope for the future and defeat violence and intolerance.
The Secretary-General told the seminar: "We look to our youth as sources of innovation and inspiration, and especially as leading partners in the quest for respect, security and peaceful development of our societies.
"Our young people – of all faiths, and all nations – are our greatest asset. To invest in them is to invest in the best of all of us.
"Young people are uniquely positioned to influence their peers and to help create a fairer, more inclusive, secure and sustainable world."
The seminar was titled ‘Commonwealth Call For Peace, Understanding and Rahmah (Mercy)’. It promoted the message of Islam as a mercy to all humankind, Muslims and non-muslims alike.
Malaysian Minister for Religious Affairs Mujahid bin Yusof thanked Patricia Scotland for being the first Secretary-General of the Commonwealth to discuss Faith in the Commonwealth.
He told the seminar that the government of Malaysia has agreed a new policy of ‘Rahmatan Lil Alamin’ or ‘Compassionate Islam’.
He said: “I hope that this event will give us a clear understanding of the meaning and definition of Compassionate Islam in building a prosperous society.
“In multiracial societies such as in this country, the concept could be understood as a universal value which can be applied to all races and religions.”