In Armenia, I got the chance to speak with Bishop Ajapahyan Mikael, about tolerance and religions. With the Paris attacks still fresh on our minds, we talked about the lessons to be drawn from this terrible catastrophe.
The Bishop stressed how very different both parts of the world were culturally, especially in the realm of religion.
While the West is thoroughly secularized and has lost touch with it’s religious heritage, in the the Orient, worship is so deeply rooted in people’s daily lives that no solution can be imagined, where religion does not play a major role.
Here are the main points the Bishop made during my audience with him:
- Religions must coexist peacefully
- Islamic religious leaders must do more to fight fundamentalism
- Fundamentalism should not be allowed in any religion
- In order to better understand Muslim society, Westerners should get in touch with their own Christian identities.
- Other than in the West, in the East religion is not a private matter, it is a matter of community
If you have enjoyed this story, please check out our Globalo Youth Peacemaker Tour, where we travel across 11 countries in the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq, to find examples of peaceful coexistence between different cultures and religions in a region torn by violence and war. Please also consider supporting our StartNext Campaign.