Over 30 senior leaders of different faith communities from MENA and the European countries, together with experts on migration, held two days of intensive conversation about mass migration in MENA and its impact in EU regions. Hosted by the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies and organized jointly by the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies and the European Council of Religious Leaders, the participants explored the distinctive and crucial role religious leaders can play in addressing the practical and spiritual needs of migrants and sharing understanding of its causes and effects in both regions. They focused especially on how to establish greater co-operation between religious leaders in both regions. Migration creates major though different problems in each region and it was agreed that there is a need for robust dialogue between the regions about these challenges.

Recommendations from the conference included: working with other stakeholders engaged in migration issues to develop guidelines and multi-level strategies to deal with the root causes and symptoms of migration – based on shared moral and spiritual goals such as creating harmonious societies; carrying out an audit/assessment of existing media capacity and capabilities within the network, in order to highlight positive stories or religious co-operation and action; improving preaching and teaching within religious communities on migration and hospitality; and understanding better, and sharing with others, the needs of our own communities.

It was unanimously agreed that an interim working group will be established to map out future strategies of collaboration in advance of a major meeting in August 2019.