Inter Religious Meeting Organized in the European Parliament on "Increasing Understanding between Islam and the West - Series I"

Jun 11, 2010, 14:42 ET from International Council for Inter-Religious

BRUSSELS, June 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- European Parliament: International Council for Inter-Religious Cooperation (ICIRC) in cooperation with the Members of the European Parliament hosted an International Seminar on "Increasing Understanding between Islam and the West" on 8th June 2010 in the European Parliament, Brussels.

The conference was attended by more than 100 participants from all over the Europe, with large number of participation of Imams from Belgium. Chief advisor to the ICRIC Mr. Prakash Gossens commenced the hearing by stressing that "Today Islam is not non-native in Europe but rather a part of the western societies". Mr. Gossens called for a deeper understanding and cooperation between the three big monotheistic religions; here the ICIRC wants to help to improve the understanding among themselves.

The hearing was hosted in cooperation with German Liberal MEP Michael Theurer, who said that he "continues to persuade European societies that Islam is an inherent element of today's culture and reality".

German Ambassador Prof. Dr. Reinhard Bettzuege said that "Germany, Europe and the rest of the western countries need an Intercultural Dialogue within diversity and plurality" on the one hand but also demanded that "a wider debate one gender equality, forced marriages and the very high violence from young Turks in Germany," on the other hand.

The director of the Islamic Centre of Belgium Dr. Sheikh Abdulaziz Alyahya was the central speaker of the event. Dr. Alayhya thanked the projects done by US Ambassador Howard Gutman in the Muslim outreach programme in Belgium, he also indicated that the Islam and the Muslims in Belgium cannot accept violence within his religion and that he encouraged people in his centre to live in peace and invite them to cooperate with and integrate in the society. He also mentioned that "Muslims in Europe need cooperate more with the European societies and organisations. He said that he and his centre are working on a middle-level and logical Islam."

Ms. Sri Hartanti Kustininsih the Charge d'affaire of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia said that Islam and democracy are working well together in Indonesia and that mutual attitudes, tolerance and a balanced dialogue are the basis this. She however admitted that there is also a small number of extremist Muslims in Indonesia.

The Vice president of the ICIRC Mr. John Martens thanked all the participants, Mr. Michael Theurer MEP and Mr. Ankit Srivastava, The Director General of ICIRC and concluded the session by saying that "Islam and its integration into western societies is a very important topic and that there is a lot of work to do, not only in the EU but also in the Middle East, India and the UN".

SOURCE International Council for Inter-Religious