High-Level EU Meeting Calls for Respect for All Religions

May 2010 – Cordoba 

Some 200 experts, politicians, and religious leaders, met in Cordoba, Spain, for two days in early May 2010 to discuss Religious Freedom in Democratic Societies. Organized by the Spanish Presidency of the EU and the Alliance of Civilisations, the meeting addressed the topics in four panels: “Religious pluralism in democratic societies”, “The role of religious leaders in promoting a culture of peace”, “Religious radicalism and extremism”, and “Cooperating to promote religious freedom.” Participants concluded that governments must show equal respect for all religions, and above all give precedence to “universal and indivisible” human rights.  

As reported in Eurasia Review on 5 May 2010, participants favored introducing educational initiatives to promote tolerance and respect for diversity in European societies, or developing training programs for police, teachers, and social workers. They also proposed “drafting codes of practice for journalists and promoting public diplomacy operations intended to prevent religious extremism” and agreed that European institutions and Member States should avoid politicizing judicial debates, and moreover should “differentiate between judicial issues and those subject to political decision-making.” The importance of the work of religious leaders “in building post-conflict peace and in preventing conflicts” was emphasized, as peace was defined “not as the absence of conflict but as peace alongside social justice.” 

The reports of the four panels will form part of the working material of the Third Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations, to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 28 and 29 May 2010.