ECRL is pleased to announce new project ‘Religious Perspectives on Constitutional Values’ in partnership with the Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral assistance (IDEA) approached the European Council of Religious Leaders ECRL in 2017 with the view to carrying out a project that examines which political and constitutional models are seen most favourably by religious communities and best help prevent contradictions and tensions between politics, law and freedom of religious practice and belief.

As a result ECRL agreed to be a full partner in the ‘Religious Perspectives on Constitutional Values Programme’, which will take the form of a serious of intra and interfaith dialogues and a consultation process, which will be carried out in 2018. The project officially launched last week in the Netherlands at a meeting to decide key areas of focus for wider consultation. Six research facilitators have been assigned to carry out consultations with religious leaders across Europe on identified issues.

Participants will identify issues where religious beliefs and practices come into contradiction with constitutional frameworks and law, and which in their opinions are the most important subjects for religious communities in Europe today.

These issues will then be consulted on with religious leaders and communities, and feedback will be used to develop ‘positions papers’ for each religious cluster.  These papers will then be used as a basis for a larger meeting of religious leaders in November 2018, which will explore the divergences and consensus between different religions on constitutional freedoms and frameworks.

The primary aims of the programme are to create a safe and stimulating space where religious leaders can develop their knowledge and understanding of constitutional models and frameworks, enhance understandings of how different approaches to constitutional freedoms are perceived by a diversity of religious leaders and communities, and how they might impact on freedom of religion and belief, develop greater understanding of the divergence and consensus between a variety of different religions on constitutional freedoms and frameworks and to produce a report of the intra and interfaith dialogue processes, and resulting findings and conclusions.

“This is exactly the kind if project that the European Council of Religious Leaders was established for. The council is well equipped to fulfil its role as a consultative body on religious concerns in Europe.” Dr Mark Owen, Secretary General, European Council of Religious Leaders.

The European Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace (ECRL) brings together senior religious leaders from Europe’s historical religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam together with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians. ECRL has participatory status with the Council of Europe. ECRL is one of five regional Interreligious Councils with the Religions for Peace network. Religions for Peace – accredited to the United Nations – is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace since 1970.