Meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders with the EU on the challenges facing Europe

ECRL meeting in Brussels, December 2016, on the challenges facing Europe.

EBU president Jamie Cresswell attended a meeting of the ECRL (European Council of Religious Leaders) with Katharina Von Schnurbein (Advisor of the EU Commission).

They discussed some of the challenges facing Europe and the possible roles religious leaders and inter-faith cooperation have in addressing these challenges.

Katharina Von Schnurbein:

“Looking at faith specifically can be valuable because migrants come from different parts of the world. Their cultures may be different but faith can bring people together.”

“Intercultural and inter-religious dialogue is very valuable for those involved but often doesn’t go far enough and the media doesn’t pick up on it enough.”

Katharina Von Schnurbein also discussed with the ECRL the progress of an EU project to tackle religious hate speech online and the hope that eventually websites will use algorithms to automatically detect language inciting hate.

ECRL members called for an increase in cultural competency and religious literacy, as well as the need to monitor all hate incidents across religions, not just islamophobia and anti-semitism.

Picture – left to right: Jehangir Sarosh, Bhai Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Kaisa Rauma, Rabbi Soetendorp, Yolande Iliano, Dr Brinder Singh Mahon Bhai Sahib, Rev. Dr Thomas Wipf, Katharina Von Schnurbein (Advisor of the EU Commission), Ozlem Nas, Jamie Cresswell (president EBU), Imam Yahye Pallavicini, Bharti Tailor, Mufti Nedzad Grabus, Dr Mark Owen.

The following day, Jamie also attended the Symposium “Religion and migration in Europe”, which brought together religious leaders, academics, practitioners and policy makers from across Europe to examine one of the most significant challenges faced by European countries and citizens today: the mass movement of migrants into Europe, and across European borders.

“Religious communities have to take on common responsibility for an open and peaceful society, thus supporting civil society and those politically in charge”, underlined ECRL Moderator Rev. Dr Thomas Wipf.

“If we do not win the local population for integration, we will fail. We cannot claim to be able to do this from Brussels, it has to be done on a local and regional level”, thus Matthias Oel, Director of Migration and Security Funds, Director-General of Migration and Home Affairs, EU Commission.

Religious leaders play a “vital role in breaking down stereotypes and help host communities to meet migrants as people”, emphasised ECRL member Imam Yahye Pallavicini, Imam of the al-Wahid Mosque in Milan and vice president of the Islamic Community of Italy.

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