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    Religious leaders condemn violence, military build-up at Hatay's "Meeting of civilizations"

    Hürriyet Haber
    27.09.2005 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    At the "Meeting of Civilizations" conference held in Hatay, a panel entitled "Religious Contributions to Civilization" was led by Ali Bardakoglu, the president of Ankara's Religious Affairs Directorate. Sitting on the panel with Bardakoglu were Ishak Haleva, the religious leader of Turkey's Jewish community, Patriarch Bartholomeus, the leader of the Greek Fener Orthodox community, and Pariarch Mutafian, the leader of the Armenian Orthodox community in Turkey. Bardakoglu opened the panel by pronouncing to the audience at Hatay's Mustafa Kemal Ataturk University that "this is not a religious meeting, but a platform on thought and culture."  When it was Haleva's turn to speak, the religious leader stressed all of the elements threatening civilization currently: "Every year, 6 million children die from hunger and malnutrition. Drug sellers try to ring in primary school children as their customers. Theft, robbery, rape, and so many other kinds of crime are out of control. But what are civilizations doing? They are spending their money on soldiers, 100 million dollars an hour on tanks, bullets, guns. If this is what civilization is, I decline the offer of being civilized. That is not civilization. Civilizations are busy committing suicide right now. They are collapsing with a thunderous sound."  Armenian Patriarch Mutafian also spoke about the campaigns of hatred that persist around the world: "Every true faith must give direction to its believers, just as a compass shows north and south. No real religion can point its people towards war with others."
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