Religious Summit in Moscow


Protestant Leader: Religion is Important for World Peace

German Bishop Huber Speaks at International Religious Summit in Moscow

By Wolfgang Polzer

July 04, 2006


Moscow, July 4 (idea) ­ Bishop Wolfgang Huber, leader of the mainline Protestant Churches in Germany, has emphasized the importance of religious
liberty for world peace.

Speaking at the international Summit of Religious Leaders in Moscow, July 4, Huber said a peaceful coexistence of people with different convictions is
what the world needs most.

Religious freedom includes the respect for religious convictions, feelings and practices, said Huber at the meeting of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and
Buddhist leaders from 40 countries.

But this respect cannot be promoted in an atmosphere of hate and violence. What is needed is a process in which Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists
and other religions get to know each other better, instead of judging each other too quickly, said Huber.

The way, in which religions behave towards each other and how they shape their dialog, will be of great importance for the question, whether the
world is able to address its problems peacefully or whether it will end in chaos.

Huber stressed the need for freedom of religious expression. If people cannot practice their faith freely, they are hurt in their innermost
freedom. The respect for human dignity calls also for the guarantee of religious freedom by the state.

The bishop reminded fellow leaders that religion could be used for good or bad. ³Religion can be used in order to proclaim the glory of God and to
promote the dignity of every human being. But the name of God can also be misused and human beings can be mistreated in the name of a religion².

The three-day summit deals with the role of faith and religion in society. The threat of terrorism is high on the agenda. In his opening address
Russian president Vladimir Putin warned against a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims. This could have catastrophic consequences.

The summit convened by the Russian Interreligious Council and the Russian Orthodox Church is expected to publish a closing statement, which will be
presented to the G-8-leaders at their summit in St. Petersburg, July 15 ­ 17.

Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican Churches and the Roman Catholic Church are represented at the summit as well as leaders of the other major religions.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, was not invited because of strained relations with China.

Other articles by Wolfgang Polzer: Hamas Has Subsidiary in Germany

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Wolfgang Polzer (55), is senior news editor of the Evangelical News Agency idea, Wetzlar (Germany).
Tel: +49-6441-915102, Fax: +49-6441-915118
E-Mail:  - Internet:  <>
Postal address: idea, PO Box 1820, 35528 Wetzlar, Germany

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