If one thing became clear during RESILIENCE's panel at the IF20 conference on the role of Religious Studies, it is that something must be done now when it comes to combating extremism.
IF20 stands for G20 Interfaith Forum, which is held September 12-14 in Bologna. RESILIENCE was present at the conference with a panel dedicated to the role of Religious Studies.
Research in the field of religion may have a fundamental role in listening and building a culture of inclusion. One of the questions discussed by the panelist was how scholars become can become actors of dialogue, while remaining faithful to their own disciplines and epistemologies, and how theologial research can offer new understanding of diversity?
Co-chair Mathijs Lamberigts emphasized that the topic is of utmost importance, both on the level of academia and on a societal level. These are the driving forces behind the projects ReIReS and RESILIENCE.
Yinglin Ma, President of the Bishops Conference of Catholic Church in China, ended her speech with an appeal to collaborate and to share useful visions. Bujar Spahiu, grand mufti of Albania, explained that Islamic traditions of peace and tolerance are emdedded in the hart of every moslim believer. Tolerance and the right to believe are a process for each individual, and as such we have the obligation to stimulate this process for everyone.
Nikitas Loulias, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, mentioned the series of crises we are facing. No one lives in isolation from the rest of the world, which means that coexistence in peace is more urgent than ever. We never should cease learning ourselves.
Herman Selderhuis made a clear statement on the role of theologians: if theologians do what their name says they do, they have immense possibilities to reduce extremism. His call to action when facing extremism was that theologians should speak clearly in this regards.
Martino Diez, scientific director of Oasis Center, is convinced that hat including the religious dimension in political and geo-political analyses both challenges some of our assumptions and improves our understanding of many phenomena.