Scotland's religious leaders meet to improve relations
Publication date: 2002-09-13
LEADERS from all of Scotland's major religions met for the first time in Dunblane yesterday, in an attempt to foster closer relations between all religious communities.
The meeting, timed as a mark of respect for the September 11 anniversary, was attended by senior members of the Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Baha'i and Buddhist faiths, as well as the leaders of Scotland's three largest Christian churches.
Before the talks, Lama Yeshe, from the Buddhist community, said ignorance of minority cultures was behind the racist attacks which had taken place in Scotland since the World Trade Centre attack last year.
"People are fighting and killing in wars in the name of religions that they do not understand," he said.
"There is a lot of misunderstanding of religions in this country. We need people to respect the beliefs of others."
Sister Isabel Smyth, of the Scottish Inter Faith Council, which helped to organise the event, said: "There has been a lot of talk about the need for peace and mutual understanding after the horrific events of September 11.
"This historic meeting shows that we in Scotland can actually do something about it and work together in that search for peace and understanding."
Among those present was the Right Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Most Rev Bruce Cameron, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Archbishop Keith O'Brien, president of the Catholics Bishops' Conference of Scotland.
Archbishop O'Brien said: "I stood with my counterparts at the Church of Scotland and Episcopal Church last year and thought 'what could we do'?
"We decided to invite the leaders to get together and to learn about and discuss each other's faiths."
He expressed a desire to see the meeting become an annual event.
©Copyright 2002, The Glasgow Herald