Last Thursday, FJC hosted an interfaith congress of religious leaders in Moscow’s Jewish community center. The congress was organized by Elijah Interfaith Institute, which has been active under the umbrella of Unesco for over 20 years.
The congress was attended by over 750 religious leaders from 63 countries, including representatives of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and the Buddhist faith.
The congress is part of a global campaign led by religious leaders to promote interfaith peace and cooperation and avert violence and conflict.
“The Ba’al Shem Tov said that if two people meet it is by the will of the Almighty,’ said Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar in opening the panel discussion. “Furthermore so if we are talking about a large assembly of people, looking to find peace and mutual understanding.”
Rabbi Lazar noted the unique position Russia currently holds in interfaith dialogue. “Believers in Russia, regardless of the differences in their roots, prayers and traditions are initially focused not only on “peaceful co-existence” but on active support and cooperation,” he said.
During the meeting, panel discussion members shared ideas about the role of religious communities in de-escalating international tensions, shared problem-solving approaches from their countries and regions and outlined paths for further cooperation.
Coordinator of Muslim Assembly of Russia Islam Valitov read a letter from the Mufti of Moscow Albir Kraganov, which said that strengthening interfaith dialogue is of primary importance. According to the mufti, “harmonization of international relation plays an important role in the prevention of pseudo-religious extremism.”
Elijah Interfaith Institute unites a unique group of religious leaders from all over the world, constituted by the three monotheistic religions, Buddhism and Hinduism. The institute’s mission is to strengthen interfaith dialogue, to search for mutual agreement and understanding while taking into consideration the fundamental differences between the faiths.