European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans chaired a roundtable Wednesday with ten European imams hailing from six EU Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands).
The roundtable follows up on a commitment made in the framework of the European Commission’s official dialogue with religions to organise a dedicated meeting with Muslim religious leaders. This dialogue is also part of the discussions on the Future of Europe.
Timmermans said in press statements after the meeting that “the Commission is strongly committed to promoting diversity in Europe. Islam is part of our history, Islam is part of our present and Islam will be part of our future.”
“The way we help our citizens – whatever their background may be – to embrace the diversity that is a reality in European societies is going to determine much of our collective future,” he said.
The meeting was an occasion to commence an open and deeper dialogue with Muslim communities on a number of issues of common interest and concern including, the role and training of imams, the discrimination faced by Muslims, the role of education, religious freedom, the threat of right-wing and “Islamist extremism” and the challenges and opportunities posed by migration, he noted.
Timmermans indicated that this would be the commencement of an ongoing dialogue, which he intends to develop and to foster with Muslim leaders and civil society going forward. (Kuwait News Agency)