Intercultural and interreligious dialogue at the focus of the UN Interfaith Harmony Week
“The common fight against the dramatic rise in religious extremism and the joint defence of peaceful coexistence count among our most important challenges. We must take resolute action against all forms of intolerance and radicalisation. For this reason we need to use every opportunity to engage in intercultural and interreligious dialogue,” Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz stated in the lead-up to the United Nation’s Interfaith Harmony Week.
“Task Force – Dialogue of Cultures”
On Monday, 1 February 2016, a “Peace Vesper” was organised by Stift Melk (Melk Abbey) in cooperation with the “Task Force – Dialogue of Cultures” at the Foreign Ministry. The keynote address at the event, which was attended by representatives of different religious communities in Austria, was delivered by Prof. Mouhanad Korchide. Abbot Georg of Abbey Melk stressed: “We want to counter religious intolerance and radicalisation with a culture of peace and send out a clear signal of solidarity and respect”.
The United Nations’ Interfaith Harmony Week
Upon the initiative of King Abdullah II of Jordan, the UN General Assembly decided in 2010 to dedicate the first week of February to interreligious and intercultural dialogue among religious communities. Numerous events are thus being held in Austria this week. In 2014, the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs established a dialogue process with the legally recognised churches and religious communities in Austria. “Intercultural and interreligious dialogue plays a very relevant role in enabling peaceful coexistence also in the future“, Sebastian Kurz stated in conclusion.
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