Liberty, Religion, and Democracy Among Topics at Rimini Meeting

Various Religious and Political Leaders Expected to Speak at Annual Event

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RIMINI, Italy AUGUST 17, 2012 ( Islam, politics, democracy, religious liberty are just some of the topics of international character which will be discussed in this year’s Rimini meeting. Various testimonies as well prominent personalities from Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East are expected to take part in the event.

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, president of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria will be starting this week’s testimony on Sunday. Nigeria is one of the countries in which the presence of Christians at this moment is most at risk.

On Monday, several speakers will be speaking at the annual event in a discussion entitled  “Religious Liberty: The Principle and Its Consequences.” Along with the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, promoter of Rome’s International Observatory for Religious Liberty, and former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, will be H.B. Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nuova Giustiniana and of All of Cyprus, Usama Elabd, rector of Al Azhar University, and Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center and Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

Representatives from Egypt, Canada and the Holy See will discuss justice and democracy. Arriving from Egypt will be Tahani Al Gebali, vice-president of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court and president of the Cairo Meeting; from Canada Jason Kenney, Canadian Federal Minister of Immigration and Multi-Culturalism, and from the Vatican, Silvano Maria Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations in Geneva. The meeting, scheduled for Thursday, will discuss the future of democracies in the Western hemisphere, in which they seem to be reduced to a mere procedure.

Closing the week on these topics will be an experience of friendship among men, among those who are founders and new companions of the most exceptional cultural event born in Egypt in the last two years. “From the Rimini Meeting to the Cairo Meeting: A Path of Liberty,” is the title of the final event of the Meeting, which will recount the experience of the Meeting born in Egypt, which was first held in 2010, and the endeavor of some Muslim friends who frequented the Rimini meeting in past years. The experience of the Cairo Meeting has expanded involving other institutions of Egyptian society, such as Al Azhar University, the Orthodox Coptic Church and the Coptic Catholic Church.

Recounting their journey at Rimini on Saturday and discussing the very difficult and decisive context for Egypt will be the Bishop General of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Armiah. Also expected to attend isthe vicar of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt, Bishop Kyrillos Kamal William Samaan, Hossam Mikawi, Judge and President of the Cairo Court, and former Egyptian parliamentarian Marianne Malak together with Father Ambrogio Pisoni of Milan’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and Wael Farouq.

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