Conference Exploring the Link Between Politicization of Religion and Community Stability & Prosperity


The forum was convened under the conviction that the challenge presented by violent extremism and hate crimes requires a comprehensive approach that brings together diverse perspectives. Attendees discussed patterns of politicization of religion in various national and international contexts, and how this interplays with community stability and prosperity. Dialogue was also facilitated on what constitutes a hate crime and how it can be combatted; religion as a political tool of control; the thin line between hate crimes and terrorism and what early measures can be taken; the modern history of radicalization in Europe; the politicizing of religion and its impact on communities in Europe and how religion can be a voice of hope in modern societies; and who is benefiting from politicizing religion and encouraging hate crimes.

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi of Moscow and President of the Conference of European Rabbis, said, “The Conference of European Rabbis and the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities operate under the aligned acknowledgment that empowering faith leaders with the knowledge and expertise to play an active and effective role in community safety will be integral to the stability, security and development of our society. Increasingly, faith is being harnessed to advance political and extremist agendas and community interventions to thwart extremism are crucial. Alongside the IAFSC, the Conference of European Rabbis is collectively committed to playing our part in countering the manipulation of faith for political means.”

Speakers included amongst others Prof. Peter Neumann of King’s College, London; Cem Özdemir, MP, Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Digital Infrastructure, The Greens Parliamentary Group, German Bundestag; MP, Federal Government Commissioner for Global Freedom of Religion, Federal Prof. Dr Heribert Hirte, MP, Deputy Chairman, Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection, CDU/CSU-Parliamentary Group, German Bundestag; Dr Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism; Moderator: Dr Daniel Gerlach, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Candid-Foundation; Viola van Melis, Head of Center for Research Communication, Cluster of Excellence, Religion and Politics, University of Münster; Olivier Guitta, Managing Director, GlobalStrat, London; Stephan J. Kramer, President, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Free State of Thuringia; Mirco Keilberth, German North Africa Correspondent, Tunisia