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EuropePREMIERE: Religion and faith when not politicized, help us tap into our...

PREMIERE: Religion and faith when not politicized, help us tap into our humanity, Ambassador of Greece

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Persecuted christians - Conference at the European Parliament about the persecution of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (Credit: MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen)

Break the silence on persecuted Christians

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen held a conference and exhibition at the European Parliament to denounce the silence surrounding the suffering of persecuted Christians worldwide. The EU must take stronger action against violations of freedom of religion, especially in Africa where lives are lost due to this silence.

Message from Ambassador of Greece to the UK, H.E. Mr Ioannis Raptakis on 5th July 2022 to the International Ministerial on Freedom of Religion or Belief hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom.

Raptakis stressed that:

“Religion and faith are such unifying factors, and when not politicized, they help us tap into our humanity.

Watch the full video below

Full message (original transcript by The European Times):

The last three years may have been extremely challenging, but they have also provided us with time for reflection, time to see what brings us closer, and time to appreciate the things that unite us.

Religion and faith are such unifying factors, and when not politicized, they help us tap into our humanity, our better elements as people, and into a spirit of peace and shared values.

Greece fully respects, protects and promotes the inalienable right enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Throughout our history and civilization, we have steadfastly manifested a rights-based approach to sustaining such a universally recognized necessity.

And we are joining our voice here today with our host, our partners in the International Religious Freedom of Belief Alliance, and other participants in advocating for freedom of religion or belief.

The Greek constitution stipulates that freedom of religious conscience is invaluable. It also places freedom of worship under the protection of the law.

Greece is an adamant supporter of the effort to combat anti-Semitism. During its presidency of the Holocaust International Remembrance Alliance, the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister Dendias stated that we do not want to see the memory of the Holocaust as an echo of the past. We see it as a living reality and a force for the preservation and advancement of our freedom and our way of life.

Moreover, the quality of life of the Muslim minority and thrice offers undeniable evidence that human rights and religious freedom rights are fully respected.

Greece has the highest number of mosques per citizen of Islamic faith than any other country in Europe. This is respect for freedom of religion or belief in action.

Freedom of religion is also closely connected with the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention of UNESCO’s. There are World Heritage monuments which have existed as places of religious expression linking history, religion and culture.

One should not use for political or other purposes, monuments that transmit an image of universality, interfaith coexistence and peace in the modern world. The example of Hagia Sophia, the world-known museum transformed into an active mosque is concrete proof that diminishing a monument’s universal value can result in cultural and religious polarization.

Such actions not only run counter to religious freedom and the enjoyment of diverse cultural richness but also do not allow for the opportunity of better understanding, coexistence and respect among future generations of Christians, Muslims or other denominations.

In the same vein, the work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate should be supported by us all. Just a few days ago, we worked together with a current IHRA presidency, and other delegations in Geneva on the presentation of the action plan to combat anti-Semitism.

We believe that through education policies of tolerance and understanding and respect for international human rights law, we can convey the message that freedom of religion or belief is a prerequisite for peace, solidarity and tolerance. Thank you.

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