Khanbhai attends faith talks Oct03

Bashir Khanbhai, Conservative MEP for Eastern Region, is attending religious talks in Istanbul to discuss the construction of a New Europe after enlargement of the European Union in 2004.


Themes at Istanbul include the prospects for integrating and promoting religious values in the new European Constitution, which are currently excluded in the draft, and the role of the various churches in preparing clergy and the general public for the European Elections.


Delegates participating in the dialogue include representatives from churches and religions throughout the world, the Turkish Government, the Italian Presidency of the European Union and national political parties.


 Speaking from Istanbul, Mr. Khanbhai said:


 "This discussion is significant as it ensures a continuous dialogue between Muslims and Christians. The fact that it is being held in Istanbul is symbolic as a city which bridges western and eastern Europe as well as Islam and Christianity.


 "The dialogue is also important as a means of encouraging the churches in accession states, such as Bulgaria and Romania, to take action for the development of civil society, human rights, democracy and the quality of life for people in their country."