Justin Welby, the current archbishop of Canterbury, has urged religious leaders of all faiths to unite in order to stand up against religious violence and fundamentalism. According to an article that has appeared in the English daily national tabloid Express, he has also lashed out against those that say the actions of terrorist group ISIS should be separated from the teachings of Islam.

Open religious dialogue is the key to a more peaceful world

In a speech delivered to the Catholic institute in Paris, Father Welby has said that in order to fight religious fundamentalism, faith leaders will need to address this problem more directly and encourage free speech and criticism when it comes to the topic of religion.

This includes criticism of not only Islamist groups and dogmas, but also the actions of certain Christian and Hindu fundamentalists as well. Father Welby has criticized the trend of trying to separate ISIS from Islamic dogma, saying that ignoring this will only worsen the problem. The archbishop further went to claim that as long as the spiritual leaders of Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism choose to ignore the repulsive deeds of fundamentalists in the name of their respective faiths, there can be no talks of ending the spread of terrorism and religious violence. To strengthen his claims, he not only brought into discussion the actions of ISIS, but also those of the Christian militias in Africa and the Hindu nationalists in South India. Father Welby argues that it is just as much a problem of religion, as it is of politics and security.

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The archbishop, who has voted against leaving the EU, has also used the opportunity to criticize the Union for its bureaucracy and corruption. He further claims that all these have made the Union an easy target for criticism, especially from Brexiters.

A hot topic

This speech comes in a year that has already had its fill of controversy when it came to racism, xenophobia, and religious fundamentalism. The Brexit and the election of Donald Trump (which has issued statements during his presidential campaign that many on the left have deemed racist, misogynistic or xenophobic) as president in the USA, have sparked further debates about the recent political climate regarding such topics.

The migrant crisis has sparked criticism from the civil society, who believe that the European governments are calling in thousands of refugees without taking into account the security of the local population of the guest countries. Another reason why European citizens have been so vocal in their criticism is that they claim government officials are silencing them when issues regarding violence, rape, and theft committed by refugees come into discussion.

It has unfortunately not been uncommon for politicians to dismiss the claims of these people, saying that these are merely the cries of racists and xenophobes.

Because of this passive attitude displayed by European politicians (most of them belonging to the political left), there has been a steady rise of far-right political parties on the continent. There is a real danger of far-right parties coming to power during the future elections not only in small countries such as Austria, Poland, and Hungary, but also in countries with a strong liberal tradition, such as Germany and France.