Third Annual Interfaith Forum Begins in Kyiv
23 April 2013, 11:08
Representatives from over 30 countries have gathered in Kyiv for the Interfaith Forum, which takes place for the third time in the Ukrainian capital. The event, often called the religious “Davos,” is being attended by representatives of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths, as well as by academics and politicians. This year's forum is dedicated to the importance of religion in politics, the state, and government.
Among the guests of the forum were Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem; President of the International Council of Christians and Jews, Dr. Deborah Weissman; president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue Prof. Hamid Bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie; President of the World Sikh Council, Dr. Satpal Singh; Minister of Religious Affairs and National Minorities in Hungary Dorka Holveni; Member of the National Assembly of Tunisia; Vice President of the Committee for Human Rights and Foreign Relations Fatma Gharbi; head of the Ulema Council of the Russian Association of Islamic Consent, Mufti Farid Salman; Chairman of the State Committee on Work with Religious Organizations Ilshad Iskenderovp; and others.
In his welcoming remarks, founder of the forum Oleksandr Feldman said that all religions, in spite of their differences, are united by responsibility to the world. “We all share the view that the world must become closer so it may better respond to the challenges posed by the world and to achieve peace in the world,” he said.
Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem in his speech stressed that the religious impulse is the basis of our human identity, and therefore religion can be a force for good and a weapon against evil.
In his view, religion must not become the basis for hatred, but should serve the common good of society. “True religiousness awakens in us a deep respect for other religions,” said the patriarch.
He also addressed the issue of Jerusalem: “Religion defines everything in our region, so it cannot be ignored. Jerusalem is a paradox. It is a place of conflict, but at the same time, it is a model community where different religions and ethnic groups are living together and trying to seek peace and harmony in their coexistence.”
President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Volodymyr (Slobodan) sent greetings to the forum participants.
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