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Slovakian Panel Portrays Interfaith Mindset in Practice




Bratislava, Slovakia – The popular song “Where Peace Begins” created an uplifting atmosphere in the Peace Embassy in Bratislava to open the UPF-Slovakia meeting on February 7, 2024, in celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week.


Mr. Milos Klas, secretary general of UPF-Slovakia, welcomed the participants. In his introductory remarks he pointed out that, “People of other faiths should not initially see themselves as representatives of a religion or worldview, but foremost as fellow citizens.”


During the panel discussion that followed, representatives of five faith communities shared their opinions as to how religions can contribute to peace. Each speaker presented a project or story to illustrate how conflicts between believers can be resolved or avoided altogether. 


Mr. Miroslav Lopušný from the Dianetics and Scientology Centre used an educational video, “Respect the Faith of Others,” to support his point. Czechoslovak Hussite Church priest Peter Mojžišík, spoke about love and trust as keys for religious dialogue.


Ing. Katarína Mikitová from the AllatRa movement presented the results of a worldwide faith-based survey in which the majority of respondents were of the opinion that religious tolerance is essential because the basic teachings of all religions are similar.  Hare Krisha representative Raghunatha quoted appropriate passages from Indian scriptures outlining a common origin.


Mr. Igor Koromház from the Unification Church shared that when he was challenged by a group of protestors at a large church event, he expressed appreciation for their great zeal. This surprised them so much that they calmed down and went home.


Following this, Ms. Lubica Magnusson, president of Women’s Federation for World Peace Slovakia, spoke about the activities of women from Israel and Palestine who had held a peace march only three days before the Hamas invasion. Despite this horrific event, both sides remain willing to cooperate. Holocaust survivor Dr. Ivan Pasternak from the Jewish community then spoke about the charity provided by Israeli citizens for the Palestinians.


To commemorate the day, each speaker received a candle with the logos of UPF and World Interfaith Harmony Week.  


Finally, the audience was asked a series of questions to ascertain their attitudes toward people of other faiths. The thirty-seven participants were asked to raise their hands when their answer was in the affirmative, and it was clear that more than half practiced interfaith harmony in their own lives. The contributions inspired such lively and amicable discussion that some were reluctant to leave even after four hours.


 

By Barbara Grabner, UPF-Slovakia
February 7, 2024
 

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