change language
you are in: home - news newslettercontact uslink

Support the Community

February 2 2016 | BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Interfaith Harmony Breakfast in Bruxelles, to say no to fundamentalism

printable version

On February 1st, 2016, more than 30 religious and political leaders gathered in the Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels for an Interfaith Harmony Breakfast. They discussed the current challenges that are facing our societies: terrorism, arrival of migrants in Europe, coexistence and youth education.

At the invitation of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Chief Rabbi Albert Guigui, the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels Jozef De Kesel, the Chairman of the Council of the Morrocan Ulemas, Tahar Toujgani, and the Metropolitan Athenagoras of the Ecumenical Patriarchate assembled in the presence of the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, and the Belgian Minister of Justice, Koen Geens.

In her opening speech Hilde Kieboom, the vice-president of Sant’Egidio, recalled the importance of dialogue and of showing the positive and constructive strength of religions to build a more humane world. In this sense, she pointed out three signs of our time: the upcoming pan-orthodox council that will take place in Creta next June, the Marrakesh Statement supported by 250 religious leaders which underlines the role of minorities in Muslim majority States and the obligation to protect them, as well as the attention given to interreligious dialogue by Pope Francis during this Jubilee of Mercy.

The Vice-President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, emphasized how dialogue should not be limited to an exchange of politeness, but it must also give room to disagreement: from confrontation solutions are born.

The challenge of youth radicalisation and the responsibility of religions towards this were at the heart of the discussion. The Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens underlined the importance of religious and philosophical education to the construction of an identity where there is no fear of the other. He recalled that violent radicalism is not only an issue of religion or Islam.

Several speakers argued that radicalization is a complex phenomenon with many facets, such as the lack of religious education, the experience of discrimination and the thirst for ideals. Radicalisation must be addressed through school and through the Internet.

Concrete proposals were made by the participants, including the importance to defend religion classes in schools to overcome ignorance. Also suggested was the creation of a kind of "Internet police" that must prevent extremist propaganda from being spread on the Internet, like it is used to fight  pedophilia on the Internet.

In the battle for ’the hearts and minds’ of the youth, religious leaders are often too cautious. They should work towards a more open yet attractive identity. Together they can give shape to a more welcoming, open and pluralistic Europe. For true peace exists only in complementarity.

This interfaith breakfast took place within the framework of the “Interfaith Harmony Week”, an initiative that was launched by King Abdullah II of Jordan and that is endorsed by the United Nations. Worldwide and particularly in Brussels all sorts of initiatives are organized throughout the first week of February to promote the encounter between religions.


October 11 2017

Religions gather in Havana to open Paths of Peace in Cuba

IT | EN | ES | DE | NL | ID
July 21 2017

Opening 'Paths of Peace' in a world marked by too many conflicts: the International meeting of world religions for peace

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA | ID
June 1 2017

The bar 'Friends - Coffee & Books' opens in Antwerp

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | NL | HU
September 8 2016

Mercy, the Heart of Peace: Prayer and dialogue for peace in the Spirit of Assisi

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | ID | HU
June 28 2016

Liturgy with the poor in Antwerp in occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Community of Sant'Egidio

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | HU
April 28 2016

The chairman of the Indonesian parliament visits the Community of Sant'Egidio

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA | ID
all the news
January 30 2018

Corridoi umanitari. Italia, Francia, Belgio, Andorra: l'Europa che accoglie i siriani

January 13 2018

Belgio: vescovi in visita alle famiglie di profughi accolti nelle diocesi

December 27 2017

Chiesa e disabilità. Nulla può impedire l’incontro con Cristo

December 23 2017
Vatican Insider

Migranti, ieri primo arrivo in Belgio con corridoi umanitari

December 23 2017

Corridoi umanitari: Comunità Sant’Egidio, “in due anni diventati modello europeo. Dopo Italia e Francia ieri sera il primo arrivo in Belgio”

November 29 2017
L'Osservatore Romano

Accoglienza prima di tutto

all press releases
October 10 2017

On 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty let us visit the poorest convicts in Africa

October 7 2015

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty - XIII world day against the death penalty

October 5 2015

Fallece un preso japonés tras pasar 43 años en el corredor de la muerte

September 24 2015

Pope Francis calls on Congress to end the death penalty. "Every life is sacred", he said

March 12 2015

Arabie: trois hommes dont un Saoudien exécutés pour trafic de drogue

March 12 2015
Associated Press

Death penalty: a look at how some US states handle execution drug shortage

March 9 2015

Australia to restate opposition to death penalty as executions loom in Indonesia

March 9 2015

Le Pakistan repousse de facto l'exécution du meurtrier d'un critique de la loi sur le blasphème

March 9 2015

Peine de mort en Indonésie: la justice va étudier un appel des deux trafiquants australiens

February 28 2015

13 Ways Of Looking At The Death Penalty

February 15 2015

Archbishop Chaput applauds Penn. governor for halt to death penalty

December 11 2014

C’est désormais officiel: Madagascar vient d’abolir la peine de mort!

go to no death penalty

Speech of Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar at "East and West: dialogues between civilizations" (Arabic)

all documents


286 visits

282 visits

379 visits

260 visits
all the related media