Istanbul Forum Focuses on Interfaith Cooperation in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Central Asia

November 8, 2005

Source: The Seattle Times

Wire Service: AP

On November 8, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Religious figures must promote peace and conciliation, not conflict, Christian, Muslim and Jewish spiritual leaders said Monday (7 November) at the start of a three-day conference in Istanbul. The forum, dubbed Peace and Tolerance II, focuses on inter-religious co-operation aimed at strengthening peace in Southeastern Europe, the Balkans and Central Asia. The meeting is taking place at the initiative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of some 250 million Orthodox Christians living around the world and a strong backer of interfaith dialogue, including efforts to heal the centuries-old schism between the Orthodox and Catholic churches. The event is co-sponsored by the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders promoting peace, tolerance and conflict resolution. Speaking on Monday, Bartholomew stressed the need for different religions to search for their common ground and to co-exist peacefully for the sake of both believers and non-believers. He voiced hope that the meeting would 'unveil possibilities of understanding,' or at least of 'avoiding the participation of religion at large' in events that lead to strife."