Church Organization Calls Meeting of Religious Leaders to Establish Dialogue

July 6, 2004

Source: swissinfo

On July 6, 2004 swissinfo reported, "Leaders of Switzerland’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities have met in Bern for the first time since the outbreak of war in Iraq. The heads of the country’s largest religious groups discussed plans to establish a permanent platform for interfaith dialogue. The meeting was organised by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches. In a statement, the Federation described the talks as 'cordial'. A further meeting is planned for the autumn. The Federation president, Thomas Wipf, said the idea had originated from an ecumencial prayer meeting held in Bern’s cathedral in March 2003, two weeks before the United States launched military operations in Iraq. 'It struck me at that service that we didn’t have a place where we could meet regularly and have an exchange of views on issues that affect all religious communities,' Wipf told swissinfo. 'It’s also important to have a place where we can get to know and trust each other more.' The meeting has been billed as the first step towards the establishment of a "Council of Religions", which could be called on a regular basis to discuss common goals and problems."