World Religions and Civil Society United against Hatred and Extremism


Mainstream Communication & Consulting provided PR-support to the International Conference on «World Religions and Civil Society United against Hatred and Extremism», which took place in Kiev on March 28-29, 2011. The Institute of Human Rights and Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia acted as initiator of the event.

Aleksandr Feldman, a people’s deputy of Ukraine and the initiator of the conference, said that the conference was an unprecedented event in the history of modern Ukraine, as it was the first time when Kiev hosted such a high profile event. «Ukraine was chosen to hold this kind of conference, as our country is one of the few in the post-Soviet area, which showed an example of peaceful coexistence of different world religions and confessions since the dissolution of the Soviet Union», emphasized Mr Feldman.

The event brought together over 20 leading international experts, religious and public leaders, scholars and experts from the USA, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Norway, as well as leaders and representatives of religious communities and confessions of Ukraine, among them:

• Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophil III

• Former prime minister and current Somali presidential candidate, Mohamed Ghedi

• President of the National Federation of Muslims of France, Dr Mohamed Bechari

• General Secretary for European Council of Religious Leaders, Mr. Stein Villumstad

• Head of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies of Jordan, Professor Kamel S. Abu Jaber

• President of the World Islamic Sciences and Education University, Sheikh Abdul Nasser Abu Al-Basal

• Muslim Spiritual Directorate of the Asiatic Part of Russia, Sheikh Nafigulla Ashirov

• Executive Director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, Father Nabil Haddad

The following topics were considered during the Conference plenary sessions: «International peace and the role of religious leaders», «When religions resort to extremism», «Tolerance and intolerance», «National and ethnic communities and the state: Ukraine’s realities and international experience», etc.

The press-group that participated in work of the conference consisted of 71 mass media representatives (12 TV-channels, 2 radio stations, 7 news agencies, 30 print and web publications).

Metropolitan Volodymyr, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) declared inadmissibility of violence justification by religious sights. «Beginning of the 21st century was marked with never-before-seen displays of extremism, in particular acts of terror in the USA on September 11, 2001, and it was a serious challenge for the society. When displays of extremism are justified by religious motivation, it is a distortion of religion. I believe that we should make a unanimous statement that extremism, hatred, intolerance and xenophobia do not comply with any of religious systems,» the Metropolitan declared. In his turn, the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophil III stated an opinion that it was impossible to justify violence by religion since religion is aimed at promoting peace. Besides, he noted that it was a task of all confessions to promote peaceful coexistence.

Mainstream provided media support to the conference. Let us remember that in the past Mainstream participated in international events for prevention of extremism, intolerance and xenophobia twice: in the Third Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan and the OSCE High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination, which took place in Kazakhstan in 2009-2010.