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NUMERO 9 - 05/05/2010

 Religious pluralism in democratic societies

Addressing this issue in a European city means, first and foremost, superseding -- wherever it may exist -- a culture of suspicion towards religious pluralism, a culture which is still motivated by old conflicts dating back centuries (sometimes being stoked up again) against the full exercise of the right to freedom of religion and conscience which has historically proven beneficial to democratic societies.
 In addition to the various United Nations documents, this was addressed in article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and article 9 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance."
 The conflicts on which that culture of suspicion is based were sometimes (and still are at times today) motivated by a hostile idea of separating religions, the idea of relegating religion to the purely private sphere looking ahead to its eventual disappearance, even with the dangerous illusion that this would make it easier to acclimatise people to a common sense of citizenship... (segue) 

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