Portugal's Parliament President Joins KAICIID in Celebrating Day of Religious Freedom and Interreligious Dialogue
The International Dialogue Centre – KAICIID served as the epicenter for the celebration of the Portuguese Day of Religious Freedom and Interreligious Dialogue, celebrated on June 22. The President of the Portuguese Parliament, Augusto Santos Silva, visited the organization's headquarters accompanied by a delegation of Members of Parliament. The visit also included a meeting with various religious leaders from Lisbon.
Dr. Zuhair Alharthi, Secretary General of the International Dialogue Centre - KAICIID, welcomed the President of the Portuguese Parliament. During the visit, the President learned firsthand about the impact of KAICIID’s interreligious and intercultural dialogue work in Portugal and globally.
“I would like to express our gratitude to President of the Parliament – H.E. Augusto Santos Silva for taking the occasion to celebrate this special day from the KAICIID headquarter. This confirms even more, the right choice of having Portugal, and particularly Lisbon, as our host”.
During the meeting with the Portuguese Parliament's President and the Members of Parliament, Dr. Zuhair Alharthi acknowledged the warm reception that KAICIID has received from Portugal and its citizens since the intergovernmental organization set up its base in Lisbon.
"In Lisbon, we feel at home, and the harmony among religious communities in Portugal facilitates our work. We gather today with respected religious leaders in Portugal to celebrate in an atmosphere of warmth and respect for all religions, emphasizing our common values more than our differences. I assure you that KAICIID will continue to promote peace through dialogue, which can only be achieved with cooperation from religious leaders, policymakers, and all other stakeholders,” said the Secretary General.
The President of the Parliament praised KAICIID and its efforts to foster tolerance and peace. "This Centre, dedicated to promoting dialogue between religions, is more necessary than ever. The founders' decision to establish the headquarters in Lisbon is highly justified. Here, we experience complete religious freedom and rich dialogue among religions. There's no place better than Lisbon to promote, from Portugal to the entire world, the crucial value of understanding among various religions," Augusto Santos Silva stated.
“It is a great honour to visit KAICIID. I commend all its founders and patrons for improving inter-religious dialogue. In circumstances that are so challenging for humanity, it is critical to foster the freedom of religion, the dialogue and alliance between religions and to promote mutual understanding and tolerance.” - Message signed by the President of the Portuguese Parliament at KAICIID’s Honour Book
The visit to KAICIID also included a meeting with religious leaders for an open dialogue. The President of the Portuguese Parliament, along with the Members of Parliament, sought to hear from the leaders of 13 religious communities about their views on the Portuguese law on religious freedom, as well as their concerns and challenges.
"The theme for this meeting was what the Parliament should do in favour of guaranteeing religious freedom and promoting dialogue between religions. The Portuguese State recognizes the social and cultural importance of all religions and gives them total freedom to hold their services, present their ideas, and congregate their faithful," Augusto Santos Silva stressed.
The National Day of Religious Freedom and Interreligious Dialogue, celebrated on 22 June, was established in 2019 with the unanimous approval of Parliament Resolution No. 86-A/2019. The initiative arose from a joint proposal from the Commission for Religious Freedom and the High Commission for Migration, highlighting that "religious freedom is a fundamental element for human dignity and the realization of human rights."