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Resolution on Interreligious Harmony Adopted in Siberia

Novosibirsk, Russia - Billions of people around the world call themselves believers. Every religion is unique, with its own traditions and customs. However, it is often used as a pretext for the aggravation of interconfessional differences. Only under the condition of mutual respect and recognition of common spiritual and moral values will we be able to achieve harmony in relations among nations and peoples.

A roundtable on "Promotion of intercultural understanding for creating a peaceful and inclusive society in Novosibirsk," related to World Interfaith Harmony Week proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, took place on February 7. The event was attended by religious and public figures.

Among the participants were Alexey Gribkovsky, chief expert of the Committee for relations with religious and national organizations under the Governor of the Novosibirsk region; Dmitry Dobry, President of the grassroots association "Dobry"; Boris Protasiewicz, President of the East- Russia Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; Margarita Vladovskaya, head of the Center for Spiritual Development; Alexander Kulkov, acting Chairman of the Board of the local religious organization Society for Krishna Consciousness; and Evgeny Bryndin, head of the grassroots movement "Moral Russia."

The event began with lighting a "Candle of Harmony" and observing a minute of silence in commemoration of the victims of conflicts fueled by atheism and interconfessional conflicts. A video report about the UPF's Middle East Peace Initiative was shown. Then participants in the meeting spoke. Margarita Vladovskaya urged the audience to remember that we all are children of God and we are different, so we need to learn to live in peace with each other. Evgeny Bryndin proposed a new term, lyubviokratia (power of love), as the basis for interfaith harmony.

Vadim B. Borisov, regional head of the Society for Krishna Consciousness, shared about the need to search for a unified ideology transcending confessional differences and create an interreligious council for building a common ideological basis and interconfessional cooperation. Dmitry Dobry drew attention to the tense relationships between believers of different faiths and proposed to write a letter with an appeal for cooperation and do polling among believers of different religions. Dmitry Oficerov talked about creating an interreligious council at the UN and invited the participants to join a Religious Youth Service project. In the end, the participants adopted the following Declaration:

Declaration on Interfaith Cooperation in Novosibirsk

We, participants in the roundtable "Promotion of intercultural understanding for creating a peaceful and inclusive society in Novosibirsk," declare the following:

1. We support the resolution of the UN General Assembly made on November 23, 2010, inviting people to participate in the UN Interfaith Harmony Week, and we are prepared to do this the first week of February each year, initiating programs aimed at the rapprochement and cooperation of people of the various religious confessions in the Novosibirsk region.

2. We invite representatives of state bodies, educational institutions, religious and public organizations, mass media, and creative intelligentsia, in recognition of their great impact on society, to contribute to developing interaction and cooperation among people of different religions in Novosibirsk.

3. Recognizing the right of freedom of conscience and religion for all citizens of Russia, we call for respecting people's religious convictions and their commitment to cultural, spiritual, and moral development.

4. Noting the diversity of historical religious traditions, we urge respect for the uniqueness of each of them.

5. Taking into account the experience of religious organizations in the sphere of volunteering, we propose to expand their social role by developing interreligious cooperation and in the future create an interreligious foundation to assist the poor.

6. We will hold regular meetings about searching for a common ideological basis for interaction and cooperation.

7. We will draw up a letter to the leaders of religious organizations in the city with an appeal to support the UN Interfaith Harmony Week and also carry out polling in support of interreligious cooperation.

8. An interreligious council should be created in Novosibirsk.

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