The Conference of European Churches (CEC) contributed to the conference on “Freedom of Religion with regard to Religious Slaughter” organised by the European Commission on 20 October in Brussels. CEC’s contribution focused on freedom of religion or belief, and the rights of religious minorities, presented by Dr Elizabeta Kitanovic, CEC Executive Secretary for Human Rights.
“The promotion and protection of the rights of religious minorities serve as a litmus test for our democratic societies,” said Kitanovic. “We have noticed a trend in Europe that attempts to limit the rights of religious minorities. Limiting the rights of one minority also affects other religious minorities.”
She went on to say that “Populist politicians targeting religious minorities have the aim of dividing people and weaken social cohesion in our European society, as well as national and global security. Every state in Europe must remain unbiased towards individuals and religious communities ensuring freedom of religion and belief for all,” she added.
This conference addressed the issue of religious slaughter to raise awareness on the importance of this tradition for Jewish and Muslim communities. The participants exchanged best practices and engaged in open dialogue on the rights of religious minorities to practice their freedom of religion without constraint in Europe. The discussion drew on the experience of international organisations such as the UN, OSCE-ODIHR, and the Council of Europe, as indicated in the EU strategy on combating anti-Semitism.