European religious leaders condemn violence, anti-Muslim bias

A conference of European religious leaders has condemned religious violence, and cautioned against a growing hostility toward Islam in Europe.

The European Council of Religious Leaders, meeting in Leuven, Belgium, under the auspices of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, called special attention to the continuing conflicts in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians who are generally Muslims have clashed for years with Orthodox Serbs. The conference took note of the widespread destruction of Orthodox churches and Muslim mosques in March of this year, and urged a joint effort to rebuild the houses of worship.

"Hatred in the name of God is hatred against God," the religious leaders said in a common statement issued as the meeting concluded. The group expressed its opposition to legislative proposal that would ban the display of religious articles, such as the new French law prohibiting the wearing of the Muslim headscarf--and other distinctively religious items such as crosses and skullcaps--in public schools.