EU must do more for religious freedom

"In a time in which Jews and other religious minorities, both online and offline is increasingly in the crosshairs of extremism and the free exercise of religi

EU must do more for religious freedom

"In a time in which Jews and other religious minorities, both online and offline is increasingly in the crosshairs of extremism and the free exercise of religion torpedoed, it's just for Europe, the wrong Signal." The Moscow chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is the President of the European rabbis conference. And always warns and he warns that restrictions on freedom of religion in Europe. Now he shows himself in an interview with Deutsche Welle, irritated that the EU Commission does not want to occupy a place: the EU special representative for religious freedom outside the European Union.

in mid-June, it was reported that no further special representative is used. So far, the Slovakian Jan Figel held the office. The Post of the Ombudsman for freedom of religion, the former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, 2016 created, as Pope Francis received the Charlemagne prize - is a kind of gift for the Pope. Now Juncker in the past. And his successor, Ursula von der Leyen decided that the Position will not continue. Instead, the Vice-President of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and the special representative for human rights and democracy, Eamon Gilmore should now, to have freedom of religion outside the EU.

"Europe Has a Problem with Religion?"

chief Rabbi Goldschmidt sees the process in a larger context, and also as a symbolic character. "Europe has a Problem with Religion?" he asks. This question did not arise, all the more, "if in this country, religious rites and traditions ask, but Forbidden to be used". While freedom of religion was a "European value".

Aiman Mazyek, the Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, see the decision of the EU Commission is critical and hopes to have a rethink. The approach of some European States against the headscarf or the religious slaughter (shechita) hits the Jews and Muslims are similar.

"freedom of religion is a human right," said Mazyek to the German wave, "and this human right is trampled in many Parts of the world with the feet." And because there are even Attempts within the EU, freedom of religion, restrict, don't be, "it's so important that the voice of such a representative is just now coming to a Standstill".

Lack of sensitivity: the dispute over the Hagia Sophia

Similar to clearly of the highest Orthodox expresses spiritual in Germany. "It is now more necessary than ever, that we have in Brussels, this officer," says Metropolitan Augoustinos compared to the DW. The Greek-Orthodox clergy is the Chairman of the Orthodox bishops ' conference in Germany, which unites about 2.5 million believers. He suspected a lack of sensitivity to the Commission for the subject. "This indifference on the part of Christians is a disaster."

As a recent example, he cites the debate surrounding the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The former Church, later a mosque, for many decades, the Museum should be according to the will of the Turkish nationalists, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again to the mosque. Against such a decision the EU should protest, should Christians, Muslims, atheists raise equally your voice, calls for Augoustinos. And the EU should devote a special to such a procedure, the hurt, once again, the Christian minority in Turkey, supervisor's attention.

"It's about freedom of religion for all"

the criticism comes also from the highest-ranking Catholics at the European level. The Erzischof of Luxembourg, cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, is the Chairman of the EU bishops Commission of COMECE. He refers to the Work of Jan Figel, the have found since 2016 "continuous" recognition. Figel have made the efforts of the EU in a concrete, "international freedom of religion for all". And that he had contributed to a better protection of those who "suffer from intolerance, discrimination and persecution".

In the current global context, the cardinal said to DW, have reached the Repression, "in some cases, the extent of the genocide of vulnerable religious minorities and groups". The EU should therefore continue its commitment and Leadership for an inclusive understanding of the Right to thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, also with a own officer.

Hope on Merkel, as EU President-in-office

In the past few days, also had regrets, 135 members of the German Bundestag, politicians of the CDU/CSU, SPD and FDP, the decision of the EU Commission. They called on the Federal government, "during the German EU Council presidency to ensure that the previous successful work of the EU special representative for religious freedom continues".

an example of such A representative is also available in Berlin. In 2018, the Federal government began for the first time, a representative for the freedom of religion in the world, the CDU MEPs, Markus Grübel. At the time, Ursula von der Leyen, Minister of defence. You would have seen in the Federal Cabinet, the decision for this new office is critical, is not known.

it is Questionable whether Chancellor Angela Merkel will talk as EU President-in-office, with all the problems facing the EU, with the President of the Commission of the Leyen on the Detail of an EU Ombudsman for freedom of religion.

For chief Rabbi Goldschmidt is clear that even without another officer, the Commission must deal with the issue more attention: He expected Schinas, to give to the new Vice-President of the EU Commission, is now responsible for the area of the freedom of religion, "multi-weight". Because it was "not only to global freedom of religion, but also to the integrity and security of the European society".

author: Christoph Strack

*The post "EU needs to be published for freedom of religion" is from Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 04 July 2020, 23:26

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