«I believe that goverments, diplomats, religious leaders, academia and non-governmental organizations can effectively work together at international, regional and national levels to promote peace and security, tolerance and respect for diversity, religion or belief, and always defending the human dignity and the principle of freedom of religion for all people... Respect for differences begin with acknowledging the rights, dignity and perspectives of everyone in a thoughful manner and then by treating others as one would like to be treated.»

Dr. Liviu Olteanu Secretary General of the AIDLR

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Keynote address delivered by Dr. Liviu Olteanu at religious liberty partnership hosted in Brasilia on multiculturalism and secularism facing understanding of freedom of religion or belief

Brasilia, 3-6 April 2017

The following keynote address (here resumed) was issued at the Religious Liberty Partnership hosted in Brasilia Brazil on 3-6 Abril 2017, where the Secretary General of the AIDLR Dr. Liviu Olteanu has been invited by RLP and Anajure as a special guest at the meeting with the President of Brazil and members of Congress and where Dr. Olteanu talked on: «Multiculturalism, Secularism and Religious Freedom». A short resume of Dr. Olteanu keynote: To avoid a mutual undermining of the authority of human rights standards, we have to know one another better. What is needed is a critical defense of universal human rights in a way that gives room for different cultural and religious interpretations. Some of the challenges are: multiculturalism and on secularism. Multiculturalism requires teaching to live with differences. Nations and people need to develop a deeper understanding of the religious and philosophical conceptions of other civilizations. But another spectrum is of secularism misunderstood or aggressive – that is not adequate in the context of time. The terminology of secularism is misunderstood. According to Mitchell Tyner, “secularization” occurs in many versions, along a spectrum from: a) benevolent neutrality toward religion, b) to overt hostility toward religion. In secularized societies, we find that ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious equality’ have become suspect and feared ideas. Religious freedom often involves accommodation of religious practices. On ‘religious equality’, there are many aspects that must be addressed: - What do we mean by ‘equality’?
- How do we measure it?
 Those of us who have confronted the matter in such areas as the accommodation of religious practices in the workplace know that blind neutrality will not produce equality. Anyway, the widely perceived conflict between ‘religious freedom claims’ and the ‘equality claims of others’ is a grave danger to the future of religious freedom. Secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries (…).

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Photos: Dr. Liviu Olteanu during his presentation at the RLP in Brasilia (Brazil).