European Interreligious Forum For Religious Freedom


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Summary of the conference Religions, Scriptures and Interreligious Dialogue
On Saturday May 5, the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom organized a conference called: “Religions, Scriptures and Interreligious Dialogue - Is interreligious dialogue part of your religious duties, and what can it do for peace?” 
The conference was hosted by the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights.
In front of a very attentive audience, several religious leaders developed on the scriptural roots of interreligious dialogue, and brought the public to the realization that a strong faith and a strong commitment to its own religion does not and should never lead to the reject of others. To the opposite, the understanding of the scriptures leads to the willingness to share, to exchange and to understand others with respect and affinity.
Father Stan Nwaigwe, a Catholic priest from the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, started by quoting the bible. Then commenting on the Acts of Apostles 10, and the Gospel of St. John, he said: “The essential element of the Word of God, which Jesus has accomplished can also be recognized outside the Christian-fold. To assume otherwise is to underestimate and diminish the universal scope of Christ's power. Besides, we only contradict ourselves to assume that God who is almighty could not make Godself known in forms incomprehensible to us. In a nutshell, there is no contradiction in the Christian bible about the plurality of the way to God. By recognizing that God has no room for favoritism, the bible recognizes religious practice outside Christianity.” He concluded by stressing the importance of interreligious dialogue in order to create harmonious relationships between people.
Then Mr. Manik Paul, an activist of interfaith and intercultural dialogue promotion, honorary President of the Hindu Forum of Belgium, explained how Hinduism is the source of a natural trend to practice interreligious dialogue: “Today, I feel myself fortunate enough to be the part of this conference as a speaker to highlight on the issue of interreligious dialogue from my Hindu perspective. In this connection I owe my gratitude to the members of the Church of Scientology. Any great civilization is a product of diversity. It is able to bring together many different views and practices in science, religion, art and culture as well as embrace various racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups. It also has a long sense of history and can integrate within itself many different historical currents. A culture where everyone must have the same beliefs and follow the same practices is not a true culture and it denies the human spirit that always seeks to grow and express itself in a variety of ways. My value system thought to acknowledge religious plurality and inclusive secularism. Still I can remember the advice of the great Indian saint Sri Ramakrishna – “as you remain firm in your own faith and opinion, so leave the others the same freedom to remain firm in their faiths and opinions.” That was the first lesson in my life to understand pluralism and the imperativeness for respecting all other traditions and religions.”
Third Speaker, Father Petar Gramatikov, Hierodeacon of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, in a speech that he entitled “The Power of Love Must Defeat the Love of Power”, commented on words from St. Luke Voyno-Yasenetsky, Archbishop of Crimea and Simferopol in the middle of the 20th Century, and declared: “In its depth the opposite of peace is not war, but self-centered - personal, collective, national, tribal, religious. It generates the various forms of violence that kill peace in different ways.
The antidote to egocentrism is not the vague moral appeals, nor the legal formalities and mechanisms for their application. But it is necessary to strengthen an active and multidimensional love that is not limited to its own national borders, prejudice and discrimination. Here lies the great opportunity and responsibility of people with a strong religious consciousness. Even in the face of long-standing conflicts, it enables forgiveness and reconciliation. The strength and power of love must and can defeat the love for the power that destroys peace.
The last speaker, Reverend Eric Roux from the Church of Scientology, concluded his speech with these words: “why Dialogue is so important? Dialogue, when well conducted is communication. Communication will create more affinity, more reality. Communication will create understanding. And when you understand your fellow, war is over. Actually, if you understand each other before war happens, there will never be any war. And if you continue to create this dialogue, there will be no space for misunderstanding, and the efforts of the ones who seek to create war will be useless, as the understanding will be so strong that any effort to undermine it will vanish. Of course today, in several situations, we are late at creating this understanding. But that does not mean that we do not need to catch up for lost time. Interreligious dialogue is a needed and effective way to contribute to a world without war, and the strength of religions lies in their willingness to engage in communication and to put their wisdom to the service of humanity.”
The conference concluded with a Q&A that allowed the attendees to ask their questions to the speakers, and the speakers to develop on specific points that had retained the attention of the attendees.

Rédigé par EIFRF le Tuesday, June 12th 2018 | Comments (0)

Bitter Winter: Daily News Online of Religion in China
On May 14, 2018, a new online news magazine has been launched at the International Book Fair of Torino, in Italy, Bitter Winter. The name refers both to the difficult situation of religious liberty in China and to a theme in classical Chinese painting.

The launch of Bitter Winter came at the end of FIRMA-Faiths in Tune, a five-day festival of religions and music that ran parallel with the Book Fair. At the Book Fair, two FIRMA awards were presented by an international jury, one to President Daisaku Ikeda of Soka Gakkai for his lifelong commitment to religious dialogue, and one to The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese new religious movement, for its resistance to religious persecution in China. Authorities, journalists, and a significant public attended both the festival, where The Church of Almighty God’s performers were among the most admired groups, and the award ceremony.

“This has a lot to do, commented Bitter Winter’s editor-in-chief, Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, with our new magazine. I am a scholar of new religious movements. They are often the most persecuted groups in China and The Church of Almighty God is now the most persecuted of them all, replacing Falun Gong as the religious minority most severely targeted by the regime. While other worthy publications on China ignore the new religious movements, we will cover them together with mainline religions.”

Bitter Winter is in English, but Chinese and Korean editions will be online soon. Assistant editors of Bitter Winter are Willy Fautré, the veteran and highly respected Belgian human rights and religious liberty activist who leads Human Rights Without Frontiers in Brussels, and Rosita Šorytė, president of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees and former chairperson of the European Union Working Group on Humanitarian Aid. Italian journalist Marco Respinti serves as technical editor.

“What is also new in Bitter Winter, added Introvigne, is that we were able to establish a network sending news and pictures directly from China. To these unpublished news, we add a digest taken from international and Chinese media.”

Bitter Winter also publishes articles and interviews. In the first issue, the magazine publishes an interview with Father Bernardo Cervellera, the leading Catholic expert of China. He explains that the agreement between Holy See and China, much rumored about in the last months, is not being signed due by resistances within the Chinese regime. He also believes that claims that the agreement would be signed soon were spread by factions within both the Vatican and the Chinese Communist establishment favorable to it, while other factions are hostile.


Rédigé par EIFRF le Monday, May 14th 2018 | Comments (0)

Conference - Religions, Scriptures and Interreligious Dialogue
Religions, Scriptures and Interreligious Dialogue
Is interreligious dialogue part of your religious duties, and what can it do for peace?

Organized by

The European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (EIFRF)

The conference will be translated in English and French 

Father Ignace Berten
Theologian - Dominican Order

Father Stan Ebere Nwigwe
Catholic Priest

Karim Geirnaert
In charge of the conversions to Islam in Belgium
In charge of the Muslim Scouts and Guides of Belgium
President EuroHalal

Rev. Hierodeacon Petar Gramatikov
Bulgarian Orthodox Church - Doctor of Theology

Manik Paul
Hindu community of Belgium

Rev. Eric Roux
Vice President - European Office of the Church of Scientology 
For Public Affairs and Human Rights

Saturday May 5, 2018 from 14h30 to 17h30
Churches of Scientology for Europe - Boulevard Waterloo 103 - Brussels 1000

RSVP at 
Refreshments and hot drinks will be served

Rédigé par EIFRF le Monday, April 16th 2018 | Comments (0)

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