Interreligious Symposium "Migration in the Light of Interfaith Dialogue: A View of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam" was held in Lviv city on Thursday, December 8, 2016. The event was cosponsored by the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine "Ummah" and the Libertas Center for Inter-confessional and Inter-religious Dialogue, and was held with the support of the Ukrainian Jewish Charitable Foundation "Hesed-Arieh", Lviv Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv City Council, Universal Peace Federation and NGO "Crimea SOS".
The symposium was a continuation of last year's event "The Future of Christian-Muslim Relations in Europe in the Context of Contemporary Migration" (December 3, 2015, Kyiv), initiated by the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine "Ummah", the Libertas Center for Inter-confessional and Inter-religious Dialogue, and the Ukrainian Association of Religious Scholars.
The organizers of the Symposium were intended to present understanding of the phenomenon of migration in the light of three major Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. "Each of the religions are represented doctrinally, and it means that we can look at immigrants as people who have a certain culture. Our inter-religious dialogue begins from here", said Dimitri (Rudiuk), Metropolitan of Lviv and Sokal UOC KP, in his welcoming speech. In addition, welcoming remarks gave Murad Suleimanov, imam of the mosque of the Muhammad Asad Islamic Cultural Center in Lviv, he prayed before the discussion by reading the verses from Koran.
In the first part of the meeting, the speakers focused on identifying issues of migration. Here opinions divided considering the positivity and negativity of this phenomenon.
On the other hand, Sheikh Said Ismagilov, head of Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine "Ummah", told his own story, because he is internally displaced person himself and lived in Donetsk before trouble happened, adding that the phenomenon of migration includes a component of changes.
"We are preparing for Christmas. And in our Christian context, in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, there is a narrative about Christmas. This migration story, at close look, helps to understand what are experiencing people who are internally displaced due to political circumstances or who are refugees due to persecution and life threat. And this Christmas narrative gives us chance to understand what are experiencing Ukrainians that migrating by families, and how such experience of Christ helps us to change our attitude to these people", said Galina Teslyuk, the lecturer of Biblical Sciences Department of the Philosophy and Theology Faculty of Ukrainian Catholic University.
«In addition, the speakers shared their views and positions on personal contact with immigrants. During the second part of the meeting, Oksana Rubay (head of the Lviv City Center of Social Services for Families, Children and Youth), Mikhail Ilin (Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation), Alim Aliyev (the head of the NGO "Crimea SOS"), and priest Sergey Dmitriev (deputy chairman of the Synodal department for social service "Eleos-Ukraine") shared on cooperation projects with internally displaced persons and migrants.
Conducted Symposium is a good start for such meetings, because we can give firm response to the challenges only when communicating together. It is important that geography of such events could expand outside the Lviv city and cover bigger number of the discussion participants."