7/7 One Year On


The Uses of Interfaith Dialogue

Staying with the World Summit of Religious Leaders, let’s go back to that report from the Ecumenical News Service we looked at yesterday:

In an interview with Rossiya, Russia’s main state television channel, Metropolitan Kirill, the chairperson of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said the Dalai Lama was not invited so as not to jeopardise Tibetan Buddhists’ fragile negotiations with the Chinese government.

Very thoughtful of you, Kirill. I’m sure the Tibetans are very grateful. I’ve already noted how the Chinese authorities reacted to this decision:

The Chinese leadership was satisfied to learn that the Dalai Lama was denied entry to Russia to take part in the religious summit, [Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs Director] Ye [Xiaowen] said. “The Dalai Lama is not only a religious figure but also a politician, who is engaged in dissident activities against his country,” he said.

And now, Asia News reports:

The Russian Orthodox Church is about to get permission to build a chapel in Beijing. This was revealed by Ye Xiaowen, head of China’s state administration for religious affairs when he was talking to Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow.

At the global inter-religious summit just held in the Russian capital, Ye Xiaowen assured the Orthodox Patriarch that the matter of a church in Beijing “was about to be resolved”.

Meanwhile, Interfax provides further reflections on the summit’s significance:

Among important consequences of the World Summit of Religious Leaders one could note a noticeable thaw in relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, strengthening of relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Muslim leaders from Iran and other Arab [sic] countries…The World Summit of Religious Leaders will undoubtedly enhance Russia’s authority on the international arena and serve a beautiful prelude to the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg.


And while we’re on the subject of interfaith unity, Doug Ireland cites a report from the Jerusalem Post:

Even as the ties between Palestinian and Israeli politicians strained against the current crises in Gaza, religious officials from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities united Tuesday to oppose a gay pride parade in Jerusalem…Several right-wing religious MKs brought the coalition to the Knesset, asserting that “never before has the Holy Land seen such a union of religious leaders.”

In fact, it’s just a re-run of what happened last year, and which I blogged on then.

UPDATE: More on the Dalai Lama’s exclusion from the summit today.