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Interfaith Dialogue: One of the Central Themes in the Fifth Forum �Dialogue of Civilizations� in Rhodes

Moscow, October 9th, Blagovest-info. More than 700 participants from 60 countries of the world took part in the fifth annual session of the International public forum �Dialogue of civilizations� from October 10th-14th, 2007 on the island of Rhodes (Greece). The chairman of the Board of directors of the Forum and the president of the OAO �Russian railways� Vladimir Yakunin considers that for five years �Dialogue of civilizations� has become an influential public force in the formation of democratic global civil society based on the humanitarian dialogue of civilizations. He made this statement October 8th at an Interfax press conference.

Well-known scientists, public and religious figures, jurists and economists will take part in plenary sessions, round tables and seminars. For the forum on Rhodes, the theme is �Religion and Dialogue of Civilizations�, which will be discussed by representatives of various religious organizations at special section. The representation of interfaith is very broad this year�, said Yakunin to journalists. He listed the "habitues" of the forum: representative delegations of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church and Jewish and Muslim religious organizations. The featuring of a religious section at Yakunin's 5th forum includes more active participation of the Catholic Church, which delegates several bishops to participate in the Forum.

As the press release about the forum informs, participants who take part in the section �Religion and dialogue of civilizations� are representing 50 global religions from 17 states, including: Metropolitan Tashkent Vladimir, archbishop Eznik Petrosyan, the chapter{head} of the Department of external church communications of the Armenian Apostolic Church, bishop Filippopolsky Nifon, the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and all East at the Patriarch Moskovsk and all-Russian bishop Moravichsky Antony, the representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Moskovsk and the all-Russian bishop of Geneva and West-European Michael, bishop Shtutgardsky Agapit, bishop Fermopilsky Ioannis, the Secretary of Papal council on culture Bernard Ardura, Chairman ISESKO Yahia Pallavichini, the Chairman of the Islamic council on religious and racial harmonies Said Abdujalil (Great Britain), the secretary general of the Arabian group on Christian-Muslim dialogue Jarjur Riad (Lebanon), chairman of the European Jewish congress Vyacheslav Kantor, the president of the Jewish fund of Ukraine and the International fund of tolerance Alexander Feldman. At sessions of section will be mentioned so important and pressing questions, as a role and value of inter-faith dialogue, the prospect of Christian-Islamic dialogue, the role of eastern religions in the dialogue of civilizations, the value of the association of RPTS and RPTSZ for integration processes in Orthodoxy, the role of religious institutes in modern civilizations, and the influence of radical religious currents on political processes.

Yakunin quite highly regards the results of the work of an annual Forum and its influence on formation of public opinion and principles of interstate co-operation: �considering civilization factors in interstate relations is a situation that in world policy people talked in one language � in the language of discernment of those calls which exist today�. As an example, in the search for a common language in the field of inter-faith dialogue, a dangerous "gamble" has been dethroned: for example, that the Talmud refers to �the scornful attitude to other beliefs�, or that Islam propagandizes �war with non-believers�. In Yakunin�s words, these �primitive statements which have been taken out of context�, destroy inter-faith dialogue.

In the opinion of the president of the Russian Railway, underlying reasons of inter-faith conflicts are always political: �much opposition is inspired by political trends: to expand the nation, it is necessary to attack not factories and bridges but spiritual unity�. Inter-faith conflicts, as a rule, are defined by situations when �the spiritual component is used by politics; there, where political order is not present, these processes (inter-faith interaction) occur normally�, he considers.

Among the innovations of the 5th session of the Forum will be a "surprise" for participants of inter-faith section: it is a special calendar submitted at a press conference of Aramaic religions. In Yakunin's words, it is �a surprising invention�; the "know-how" of organizers of the Forum is constructed on overlapping annual cycles of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Representatives of these religions will find religious holidays on a calendar.

Source: Blagovest.info

� 1993-2007

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