The Words of the Marion Family
Chisinau, Moldova -- UPF-Moldova helped organize an interfaith conference on the theme: "A New Paradigm of Interfaith Cooperation and Human Rights" on July 7.
The event, a first in the country, was attended by over 40 participants representing Judaism, Christianity, Baha'i, Unificationism, and other spiritual groups and NGOs including Hindus, Brahma Kumaris, Falun Dafa, and Youth Parliament.
Participants included representatives of the Church Registration Department of the Ministry of Justice, former Vice-Minister of Education Vlad Ciubucciu, independent human rights experts, university professors, journalists from the National Radio and Radio Free Europe; Ambassadors for Peace, and UPF volunteers.
Though representatives of the Lutheran Church, Mormon Church, Muslim Associations, and the USA Embassy Special Advisor on Religious Freedom could not be present, they gave a green light for bilateral cooperation in the future.
Presentations included a view on interfaith and human rights by Jacques Marion (Secretary General of UPF-Eurasia), a report on the proposal for an interreligous council at the UN by Alexander Zamusinsky, reports from various human rights and spiritual groups representatives; and closing remarks by Mihai Calestru (Secretary General of UPF-Moldova), who proposed ongoing bilateral and multilateral cooperation and holding regular monthly gatherings.
At the end all participants joined in a meditation for peace led by Mrs. Guska, spiritual leader of the Brahma Kumaris.
The successful meeting was prompted by current political and religious controversies in Moldova's struggle toward democracy. While Moldovan law provides basic freedom of religion, the Orthodox Church occupies a prominent position in the country with government support. The Law on Religions (2002) restraining religious practice by groups that are not registered is viewed by many human rights associations and religious minorities as promoting discrimination and intolerance. Even registered groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Judaism continue to face criticism. Recently the Islamic League became the first registered Muslim association in Moldova, creating much controversy.