Several Firsts at European Interfaith Conference

An interfaith seminar held in Fribourg, Switzerland last week ended with a declaration against anti-Semitism by the 200 participants who included Jews and Moslems from Israel and, for the first time, church leaders from Poland and East Germany.

The seminar was organized by the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), founded in Fribourg 40 years ago. The final declaration urged Christians to work to stamp out new seeds of anti-Semitism and to stress that Christians are not inheritors of Judaism but an addition to Judaism.

Bishop Henrky Muszynski of Gdansk, spoke of growing interest in Judaism among the younger generation in Poland. Moshe Rezmikov of the Israeli-American Committee attended as a member of a group of 30 Israeli Jews and for the first time, Moslems.

A workshop on Islam decided it was important for both Jews and Moslems to achieve a better understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the problems of Christians facing a growing Moslem population in Europe.

Rabbi Alexander Safran of Geneva said he was generally pleased by the changes that have taken place in the Roman Catholic Church. But he was concerned by Pope John Paul II’s meeting with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim at the Vatican last month and the beatification of Edith Stein, a Jewish-born convert who became a nun and died at Auschwitz during World War II.

Christians at the seminar expressed hope that their efforts to come to terms with Judaism would be matched by Jewish efforts to evaluate a theological relationship with Christianity.

The next meeting of the ICCJ will be held in East Germany on September 12. Israeli participants are expected to receive visas.

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