DéclarationPress release
Position of the Council concerning the
Brussels 2014

The Belgian Council of Religious Leaders was officially launched in the Belgian Parliament on 17 December 2009 , in the presence of her Majesty Princess Mathilde.

1. Basis work : partnership
The different religions and spiritual movements in Belgium bear the task of promoting social cohesion and a shared vision of peace. Whilst they are aware of their different approaches, they endeavour to respect each other’s beliefs and traditions and may on occasion consider joint action. The undersigned members, who hold positions of responsibility within their traditions, encourage dialogue towards a common commitment.

The Interfaith Council of Belgium is independent, apolitical and works on the basis of consensual dialogue.

The Interfaith Council of Belgium sees itself as a structure of esteem and confidence between representatives of different religions and spiritualities. The primary objective of this Council is to offer its contribution to a harmonious society by bearing witness to the human and spiritual values that inspire its members. It aims to address issues of ethical, moral and societal interest, where appropriate inciting its members to action.

Archbishop Leonard - Catholic Church
Guy Liagre - Protestant and evangelical Church
Francis Renneboog - Protestant and evangelical Church
Metropolite Panteleimon - Orthodox Church
Robert Innes – Anglican Church
Abdulaziz M. Al-Yahya – Islam Community
Semsettin Ugurlu- Islam Community
Ahmed Hany Mahfoud -Islam Community
Albert Guigui – Jewish Community
Lama Karta - Buddist Community
Phra Suddhinanavides - Buddist Community
Frank De Waele – Buddist Community
Herman Janssens – Hindu Community
Ramesh Mehta - Jaïn Community
Brussels 17-12-2009

2. The Council is committed to active tolerance and officially took position on this on September 11, 2010 with a declaration:: “Based on this understanding of tolerance we as religious leaders commit ourselves to work individually and together to translate an attitude of tolerance into transformative acts of toleration. In our teaching, preaching and leadership we will emphasise that in our religions which inspire mutual respect and acceptance. We speak clearly and publicly against, and when required we confront, that which fosters intolerance and discrimination. We will do all we can to counter any form of hate speech or other hate crimes, whether it is in the form of anti-semitism, islamophobia, attacks on Christians or any other religion”.

3. Position of the Council concerning the project “Parliament of Religions –Brussels- 2014”
The BCRL has learned of a private initiative to hold the Parliament of Religions in Brussels in 2014.

This project was greeted with initial enthusiasm. However issues raised by the Council as to what is the background for this initiative have not received any accurate response despite a number of steps being taken.

Moreover, the Council deplores the lack of clarity surrounding the participation of some of the people in the original organizing committee, and at the finance and procedural levels which seem to be in contradiction with the stated aims. For these reasons, the Belgian Council of Religious Leaders has decided not to take part as a body in the committee organising this event.

Brussels 9-2-2011