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President of "Evsen" Group of Companies (Organizer)

Dear guests, before starting my speech, I would like to express my deep gratitude and admiration to the representative of the government, His Excellency Mister Minister Catalá Polo, and to thank and applaud the Spanish nation and its leaders, His Majesty the King of Spain and the head of the government, for the tolerance and respect shown to all religions and cultures.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel privileged to greet and welcome you at our second international conference, aiming at such values as peace, brotherhood and tolerance, which we initiated last year. Dear guests, I´ve thought a lot, what should be the topic I could speak about, so that it would be useful and easy to understand. So I decided to speak around four main themes. And first, I want to speak about the concept of Happiness, that happiness that we all try to reach during our lives. If we ask people, what is happiness, we will get various explanations, but only few of them can get close with their answer to the true meaning of this word.
For me personally, happiness is when one has a faith and accepts what destiny prepared for him, meanwhile setting goals that are within his possibilities that ensure personal, family and social progress. My request for you is to go back home where you have your grandparents, and ask them how they perceived happiness in their young ages. And then try to make a comparison between the concept of happiness of those times and of today. Compare the number of happy people back then and count how many of us are considering ourselves happy today. See the difference. This difference can be explained by the fact that in earlier time people had less ambitious expectations from life. Although they did not possess the means we have today, they were happy with the little they had and happiness guaranteed them an enjoyable and balanced way of life.

Looking at the reality of today's world I want you to answer this question. Why do we live so fast, where are we rushing? Where do we want to reach? Why do we always want unreachable things? Why don't we follow the example of our grandparents? Why we set such high goals that bring us only the temporary happiness? This illusion of happiness brings us to delusion, and we end up in existential emptiness, so we face the miserable consequences.
Only in Spain there are four thousands cases of suicide per year, and this number reaches hundreds of thousands deaths in the world. And the majority of them are young people. This data is very concerning. The second point I wanted to mention is the theme of education, and particularly, the education of values to the new generation. In the sura Alaq of wholy Koran it says:

Read in the name of your Lord who created.
Created man from a clinging substance.
Read, and your Lord is the most Generous
Who taught by the pen

As it is mentioned in Koran, education is the base of joint coexistence in an atmosphere of mutual understanding without dissonance or divisions. This is why it is important to have an adequate education which we can classify into two parts. First, it's the education we receive from our family. Remember the excitement that you felt when your children were born, when you first saw them crawling, or when they spoke their first words. The satisfaction and happiness that made you teach them their first steps. All of this you taught your children. They have learned to be grateful to God by saying "amen" before and after sitting at the table for meal. You taught them our religions and our prophets, when you brought your children to the mosques, to churches o synagogues, holding their hands. Your child learned from you to raise his hands up to the sky asking God for help when he is worried or stressed.
Unfortunately, today we don't pay as much attention to the certain values as before. Our children have difficulties to distinguish the good from the evil. The youth of today gets farther from the warmth of their homes, finding the escape in technological innovations, associating the possession of new devises such as a video game or a mobile phone from the latest generation with happiness. And this false happiness brings them to loneliness, isolating them from their surroundings and sometimes turning them into unsociable beings.
We must educate them with the essential values of our beliefs so that they have a strong faith inside of them which can help them to form and strengthen their personality and attitude; this way they won't become puppets of anyone, they won't allow anyone to manipulate them. They should have a clear understanding of what exactly they want from their lives. They are our future. By giving them the adequate education, we will create strong individuals for a healthy society without any prejudices.
The third and the most important point in my speech is the relation between the education of teachers and education of those who are dedicated to education of youth in general. The role of educators is highly important.
It's clear that each country has its own plan of academic education that has to be followed. But equally with this specific plan there are certain common values like justice, love for your neighbor, respect towards the elder people and women. But nowadays these values are losing their importance. These same values unite us in our religions. The values that serve as the basis for the formation of each individual that makes up a society. The education of each person should start in the family and continue to deepen by competent teachers, who can be examples to follow with their behavior and morality.
As we are going to see in some moments the painting that will be inaugurated by his Excellency Mr. minister, you will notice that this masterpiece is perfectly reflecting all that I said before.
Mr. Minister, with your support and approval, we could initiate a pilot project fully financed by our foundation, that would be the creation of a training center for teachers that could help distinguish the true professors who teach moral and spiritual values of our religions without misinterpreting them, and without manipulating religions in their interests.
Dear guests, following the example of Azerbaijani state, who launched the Islamic solidarity, for my last point I would like to underline that if we would apply the same model in all religions, we would ensure a better understanding of our religions and a better harmony among nations.
Mr. Minister, in your person I want to express my deep gratitude not only to you, but also to the entire Ministry of justice, especially to Mr. Javier Herrera for his support in our initiatives and his understanding the difficulties and problems that arise in the organization of the conference of this type.
I would like to call on parents to go hand in hand with their children to mosques, churches and synagogues, the same way as our parents would do to us, do not deprive them from the love of God.
I am grateful for your patience. Thank you very much to each and every of you for honoring us with your presence today. Welcome! May the benevolence of the Almighty be with us.

Minister of Justice of Spain

Let me start my speech by congratulating the organizers of this Conference for taking the initiative, for the second year in a row, to arrange a meeting of this nature. And I want to express my gratitude for inviting me to speak a few words. Talking about "Religions and their contribution to Concord and Peace" is, without a doubt, a matter of remarkable importance and relevance. Indeed, in these convulsive times when harmony and peace are often threatened from multiple fronts, any contribution to preserve them must be welcomed and greeted with enthusiasm. And the presence of all of you here, religious leaders coming from different parts of the world and coming from different social and cultural backgrounds, is the proof that we must have confidence in the achievement of peace, because this is not only necessary, but among all we have to make it possible.

Achieving harmony and peace is undoubtedly a complex task. This task should not be understood as something that exclusively concerns the governments or the public authorities. The latters have, of course, an important role to play, but civil society must be an active and inseparable part in the search for solutions. And there is no doubt that religions, which are found in the basic substratum of societies, individuals and of the groups in which they are integrated, can and should play a fundamental role in this field. Religions, from their double spiritual and social dimension, can implement a mediating role in the existing opposition between violence and peace.

The great French thinker and lawyer, Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the fathers of liberal democracy, already in the first half of the nineteenth century pointed out the importance of the participation of a vertebrate society in the resolution of political problems. And in that context, he considered that religious beliefs have an essential role in the achievement of peace and freedom. Tocqueville said that "religion is a form of hope, which is as natural to the human heart as hope itself". More recently, in the current time, the well-known Swiss theologian Hans Küng has rightly pointed out, in that same line, that:

"The strength of religious beliefs must be oriented towards overcoming the global challenges of humanity; something that will only happen if the religions stop debating each other in mutual dislikes, to stir up conflicts and to spread fanaticism and if, on the contrary, they meditate on what is common to them. If this is achieved, the strength of religions will flow for the good of all humanity".

The Evsen Foundation, which gathered us today, has played a catalytic role in an initiative of this nature, perhaps because its origin lies in a region of the world where over the centuries coexisted various confessions, and they continue to do so, despite the fact that historical events there have been convulsive. A few months ago I had a privilege to speak in the closure of a conference on victims of religious and ethnic violence in the Middle East, and its consequence, which would be the contribution of religious leaders to peace in that troubled region. It is that other region of the world in which traditionally all the great religions have coexisted and that, nevertheless, for decades has been immersed in a spiral of conflict to which we have not found a solution yet. On that occasion I had the opportunity to emphasize the role that religions can have when looking for solutions to the conflict, and to explain what I consider to be an appropriate model of interaction between religions and public authorities to guarantee harmonious organized coexistence and social cohesion, which are, in short, prerequisites for peace, harmony and security.

This model of governance, with all the imperfections that any human work tends to have, is the model designed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The key to this matter in our Constitution is Article 16, which states about the obligation of public authorities to take into account the religious beliefs of our society and to maintain the relations of cooperation with religious confessions. And this should be applied not only to the Catholic religion, which is represented by the majority, but also to all confessions that are represented in our country.
The promotion of interreligious dialogue and its institutionalization is not a new idea. The World Parliament on Religions, which established in 1893 in Chicago and has been held since 1993 in its new phase, is an example of how the institutions and platforms for dialogue, where representatives of religious groups meet regularly to discuss issues of common interest, should be encouraged, both official and unofficial, international and local.

And as noted in the Forum on Minority Issues held in 2013, this type of initiative 'should take advantage of the potential of religious and political leaders to contribute to building tolerant and inclusive societies, initiating and supporting those efforts and activities". This has to be this way because in religion and in beliefs, rests the most intimate and sacred part of human being, his connection with the transcendent. In a nutshell, from the religious perspective it is called the soul of human. And what those beliefs are, as well as the degree with which they are penetrated in the collective consciousness, is determining the conformation of the social order with such intensity that one cannot interpret historical events without taking into account the set of religious beliefs that are mostly assumed in each time and place.

Because in front of the gurus who predicted the end of religions, reality shows us that nothing is as alive as faith. Sometimes it is understood strictu sensu, other times as cultural reality in which we live without even realizing. We are Christians, as we were Jews or Muslims in the past. And we all this culturally and sociologically, regardless of our level of religious practice or our greater or lesser belief in the transcendence of the human being. Our cultural heritage conditions our way of thinking, our way of living, our eating habits and even our way of entertaining. In all this there is a religious element, much intensive than we sometimes think. Since the beginning of time, long before there were nations and states, men gathered around their beliefs, and if the latter have not been properly shaped by their leaders, it led to countless wars, conflicts and clashes. Without going back so far, let's look at our country, in Spain, which for centuries was a land of peaceful coexistence between the three great monotheistic religions: Christians, Jews and Muslims. However, well-known historical circumstances which I cannot cover, generated confrontations, alienation and disagreement between different religious groups, which led to violence and wars. The work of public authorities and social leaders, including religious leaders, consists of finding ways to harmonize the natural differences that exist between groups, integrating their followers into an inclusive project as a way to include all members of a community, regardless of their faith or beliefs, and create a collective identity and an idea of belonging with the group.
This year we are commemorating the XXV anniversary since the Spanish government signed the three Cooperation Agreements with the three main religions that, together with the Catholic Church, have historically been present in our country. These Agreements have been regulating, in an satisfactory manner, the relationships of these confessions with the public authorities throughout the last quarter of a century. In a way that does not mean relieve from problems, tensions or claims. But we all have understood that the way of agreement and understanding is the only way to improve. Neither of the sides has ever been tempted, as colloquially is said, to kick the table with the fist, because we all know that the confrontation only makes things worse; no one benefits and everyone gets harmed, even those who believe they can take an advantage from the situation. The different confessions should understand each other, as the role of religions is in the achievement of social consensus; this is a real necessity of society.

In order to reach peace and harmony it is essential to give importance to religious groups as interlocutors of the civil society to which they belong. They should not only manage and respond to the demands of the faithful people, but also to combat marginalization and exclusion, and to assure coexistence within the multi-religious environment, which is typical for today's globalized world. The religious leaders must be aware of the fundamental role they have to play when generating consensus and eliminating friction by bring together social groups. Let me quote Hans Küng who says that "there will be no peace in the world without religious peace, and there will be no religious peace without dialogue between religions". We need a permanent dialogue, based on the recognition and defense of human rights and respect for religious diversity and its manifestation in public.
But to make this dialogue possible, there must be a real will among the interlocutors; a common base on which we can create roads of dialogue that could tip over the concept of human dignity; the recognition of the right for difference; or the acceptance of the belief of the other. I would like to conclude my speech by recalling some words spoken by Isaac Rabin, in Oviedo in 1994, when he got the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord with then the President of the Palestinian National Authority.
The Prime Minister of Israel of that time said that he and President Arafat were "trying to change the reality of the Middle East". Sometimes, he said, we have to work against human nature, which seeks revenge. We must try to turn the enemy into a friend. And in that attempt, religious leaders have to become the role model. Only through dialogue and mutual trust can we advance in the construction and consolidation of a world in which peace ceases to be an objective and becomes a reality. There is still a long way to go but it is with initiatives like this that we will make the goal time by time closer. Thank you very much.

Minister for Social Equality of Israel

Dear Friends, Shalom and good evening.
I am delighted to be with you as Israel's first Minister for Social Equality. I strongly believe that a more equal society is a stronger, better society for us all. Since its founding, Israel has been committed to a vision of a society of equal opportunity. Our Declaration of Independence guarantees equal rights for all citizens - regardless of ethnicity or religion. I am especially pleased to be with you in Madrid at this important conference on religious equality because freedom of religion and freedom of worship are fundamental cornerstones of our society. And we treasure our vibrant democracy. It is especially moving to be here in Spain as we mark 30 years since the establishment of relations with the State of Israel and 100 years since the return of the Jewish people to Spain. We remember the golden age of the Jews of Spain, and the great and lasting influence on the community's leading Rabbis the world over, until this very day.

We are all the children of Abraham our forefather, and the father of a multitude of nations. We may have a very diverse society, but we need to look for what unites us and what binds us together. As we read in the Book of Psalms, "How good and how pleasant it is when brothers and sisters well together in harmony." The Bible- which is the source of inspiration for us all - teaches us that only when we are together in unity we will be in peace. Our hand has always been outstretched to peace, and remains so today. Shalom, Salam - or peace - is the first word our children learn in school. At the same time, as the world advances, Israel has been at the forefront of discoveries and innovation in the fields of technology, medicine and science, knowledge which we have shared with peoples all over the world. This joint cooperation for the benefit of all humankind is to us a given. At any Israeli hospital we see how Jewish, Muslim Christian or Druze doctors are working hand in hand to treat patients, both Israeli and Palestinian. Israel is where an Arab Judge sits on the Supreme Court, the deputy police commissioner is Muslim, and the chair of the parliamentary Committee for the Advancement of Women is an Arab lawmaker. It is only under Israeli rule that freedom of worship is allowed for all at Jerusalem's holy sites.

The Holy City which the Jewish people prayed to return to for thousands of years is now open to all. At Israel's northern border one can see how Israel is even treating Syrians caught up in the civil war in Syria. Working towards a more equal society for people of all faiths, I am very proud that our Government has approved a landmark billion-dollar budget, spearheaded by my Ministry, for Arab citizens and other minority populations in order to improve the living conditions of this sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are living in difficult times. The terrorism which we saw on the streets of Israel is now targeting the streets of Europe, including recently in Barcelona. The threat of radical Islamic terrorism should unite - must unite - the Western World. There must be no double standard when it comes to terrorism. We must say in a loud clear voice: we condemn and will fight against terrorism everywhere, anywhere. If we speak in one voice, act in one voice, then we will win. This is my message from Jerusalem: that the value of life is the supreme value. Let us all unite in prayer for peace for the whole world. Jerusalem has been the source of our life and our inspirations over thousands of years, and also serves as a spiritual light for the whole world. As we read, "from out of Zion comes the Bible, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
So let us send out a message to the next generation that they will never suffer from violence, religious exclusion, or discrimination. This is the promise all of our children deserve - the promise of a better future. It is our responsibility to make this commitment a reality. Let us remember the words of the Prophets: "for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the Nations." Thank you very much.

Cardinal of Catholic Church

My sincere greetings to the Hon. Mr. Dr. Ali Evsen, the president of the EVSEN Foundation, which has organized this conference on "religions and their contribution to harmony and peace", so here I am thanking you for your kind invitation. Also, I want to greet the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and the Mufti of Azerbaijan and the entire Caucasus, as well as the Ministers, Ambassadors and other participants in this important act on interreligious dialogue.

These days we must be happy that, despite of some objective difficulties that should not be ignored, it is observed, with more intensive frequency, that dialogue flows not only between Christian confessions (Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican etc.), but also with Muslims and Jews. Regarding non-Christian religions, it becomes specially relevant the Declaration of the II Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, which, in a simple way, highlighted what men of different religions have in common to promote dialogue and collaboration. The Catholic Church shows its appreciation towards Muslims, "who worship the only God, living and subsisting, merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who spoke to men, whose hidden designs seek to submit with all their soul how he submitted himself to God, Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith looks with complacency". And it urges Christians to have a practical attitude: not only to dialogue, but also to defend and promote together, 'social justice, moral goods, peace and freedom for all men" in the name of common faith in God. Concerning the Jewish religion, the Council, as it recognizes how the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is so great, it "encourages" to "inspire and recommend mutual knowledge and esteem that is obtained, above all, through biblical and theological studies and with fraternal dialogue". As Pope Francisco recalled in Assisi, last year on September 20th,: "We do not have weapons. But we believe in the meek and humble strength of prayer".

Religions and cultures are called to serve and foster a peace: a comprehensive peace. A peace that involves and demands forgiveness, acceptance, availability for dialogue-without losing one's identity-collaboration with the brother in order to build a better world, purifying the conscience of every temptation of violence, contrary to the name of God and dignity of man. This is the reason why the acts such as the one held today in Madrid, with participation of representatives of different religious and political confessions, represent a challenge to create spaces and dynamics of dialogue between the religions present in society, so that they can contribute to the common good, the dignity of the human person, and the search for peace and peaceful coexistence among all believers and among all citizens. Thank you very much.

Sheikh Ul-Islam And Grand Mufti Of The Caucasus

In the name of God!
Your Excellency, Minister of Justice of Spain Rafael Catalá Polo!
Your Excellency, Cardinal Archbishop of Valencia, Antonio Cañizares!
Honorable representatives of the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church!
Dear conference participants!

Let me express the warmest welcome on behalf of Azerbaijan, the Muslims of the Caucasus and myself to all the participants of this high-level meeting. With great pleasure I pass the greetings of the president of Azerbaijan, His Excellency Ilham Aliyev, who send his good wishes to Spain and I express my gratitude to the organizers of our event that is taking place in the Spanish land. It is very nice to be together with valuable personalities representing different religious confessions and exchange ideas in this prestigious event. I pray to God that the political, social and religious figures who participate here have luck in their good deeds. Unfortunately, the tragic events that have happened lately in the world give the impulse to religious and national extremism. Series of attacks, human massacre and destruction of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, separatism, xenophobia, manifestations of Islamophobia in various parts of our planet is a severe setback to interreligious and inter-ethnic dialogue that deepens the polarization between civilizations more and more.

But it is also true that despite the crisis we have, there are eternal spiritual values that do not let our world be destroyed. The years of Multiculturalism, as well as of Islamic Solidarity announced by the President of Azerbaijan, His Excellency Ilham Aliyev, fulfill a common and universal mission. This is a special and valuable contribution of the state of Azerbaijan, which throughout history has been a bridge between East and West, to the processes that take place in the world. The year of Islamic Solidarity, which embraces dialogue and cooperation between Islam and other Abrahamic religions, and harmony, should be considered a great opportunity from this point of view. Today, cooperation between the leaders of the states, the leaders of public and religious organizations is of great importance for the protection of peace, which underlies all problems. The importance of the continuous international events on multiculturalism and tolerance organized by us is essential. Being a rare example of interreligious and interfaith solidarity, Azerbaijan is also known as a traditional venue for international events on intercultural and interreligious dialogue. The communication between the leaders of the main religious centers of the world serves this purpose. Visits to Azerbaijan by His Holiness Pope Francis, the leader of the world's Catholics, as well as His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, and their meetings held in the church and the mosque is a good example of the importance given to the process of interreligious dialogue. The greatest value created by the Lord is a human life and His salvation is present in the human spiritual values inspired by traditional religions. In order to find a just and peaceful settlement of all the conflicts that exist for many years and threaten peace in our region and around the world, politicians, religious leaders and the world community must increase their efforts. Being a country that for many years has suffered from separatism, we condemn all forms of the nightmare of separatism that has arisen in different parts of the world.

Otherwise, the world can fall into infinite chaos. Azerbaijan recognizes and respects the territorial integrity of all states in the world, including Spain. 20% of the territory of our country was occupied by Armenian extremists, the genocide was committed against civilians in the city of Khojaly and more than one million of our compatriots are condemned to live a life of the internally displaced. Our mosque, church, synagogue and cemetery were destroyed in the occupied territories. Of course there can be no justification for those who treat the Houses of God and sacred values in such a way. However, in the course of the longstanding Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan the Azerbaijani people within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan want a just and peaceful solution based on the norms of international law. In the meantime, we greatly appreciate the mediation mission of the Russian Orthodox Church, which recently organized our tripartite meeting with Catholics of Armenia, Karekin II, for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Dear conference participants! All the Abrahamic religions inspire in people the idea of peace, security, mutual understanding and brotherhood. Interreligious dialogue serves to justify these truths. May the declared multiculturalism in Azerbaijan and the years of Islamic Solidarity serve these ideals and the recovery of peace in our world! I thank the initiators and organizers of today's international event - the Spanish Minister of Justice, Mr. Rafael Catalá Polo, the head of the EVSEN Foundation Dr. Ali Evsen, as well as the president of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Mubariz Gurbanli. I pray to our Lord for happiness and prosperity for the hospitable people of Spain. Amen! Vassalamu aleykum va rahmatulahi va barakatuhu! May peace be with you, and so the mercy of God and his blessing!

Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem

I greet the Presidential Table, especially Mr. Ali Evsen for organizing this wonderful conference. I would like to begin my speech with a biblical story where it is said that when God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham, the Father of Humanity, prayed for them. God decided to destroy them because he knew that if there was no love there would be no kindness, there would be no mercy. When God decided to destroy them, Abraham prayed to God and told him: "Please try to forgive the people of this nation". Abraham, who was all about love, insisted that God was generous with the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. What is the message we see in this biblical story? It is not the most important thing to pray for the ones who belong to your family, who belongs to your society, but the most significant thing is what Abraham did, to pray for others, for those who do not share your ideas. Pray that peace and harmony in the world can be achieved as the final goal.

We see that Abraham in his personality had kindness and mercy; however he had to fight, and he actually knew how to fight, against the Kings who wanted to destroy the ones who did not belong to them. Abraham refused to shed the blood of the innocent. Abraham goes to war, so this man of kindness and mercy has the moment in his life when he knows how to make decisions, when he knows how to fight for his ideals, to eliminate the injustice in the world. The message is that we must fight for a world where peace reigns, where understanding and dialogue reign.

I appeal to the religious leaders of all the religions of the world that we have to fight for love, peace, unity and solidarity. In the same way that it is a motto for peace and harmony, however, I insist that we must rise up against those who with terror intend to destroy the society of peace and harmony. We must fight against those who want to shed blood of innocent people and I keep saying we do not justify terror. Terror has no justification. There are no explanations, no answers to defend terror. In the same way that we help the needy, in the same way that we help fight for good, we have to fight against these injustices. In the US, people were killed while praying in a church. It is an unacceptable case. We have to look for ways to fight evil. And not only politicians, but especially the religious leaders, we have an obligation to fight to build a society of peace and hope.

I finish my words saying that we have the unique opportunity. I see that unique opportunity. And I see in the faces of everyone present that there is a thirst for peace. Let's stop for a minute and pray for peace to God of Peace. May it be your will, God who is in heaven! That there is Peace, that there is understanding. Save us, God, of any misfortune, of any war, of any evil and bring the moments of joy and salvation. Let's all say AMEN!

Representative of Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

First of all I would like to express my gratitude to be invited to the current conference on Religions and their Contribution to Concord and Peace, which is organized within the framework of the year of Islamic solidarity, which was declared by the President of Azerbaijan. On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia I would like to greet all the participants of this conference and particularly the Grand Mufti of the Caucasus Sheikh ul-Islam Pashazade, with who they have a long history of fruitful cooperation in frames of interreligious dialogue, as well as diverse peacekeeping efforts. Today we talk here about the dialogue between religions for the sake of peace - the peace among followers of different religions, among nations, whose cultures are formed mostly by their religious traditions.

In this conversation first of all we should question ourselves, what is Peace? One can understand Peace in different ways. It can be perceived negatively or positively. In the first case Peace is only the absence of war or hostility. This type of peace is a very important purpose, because the wars and hostility destroy the human relations and the humans on both sides. Here it is relevant to bring the saying of Cicero: "Better a bad peace than a good war". Englishmen say: A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit. But the first word in these sayings is "Bad". The peace is better than war, but the absence of war does not mean the goodness in its full potential. The real goodness asks for some positive filling.

What is Peace in a positive context? In my opinion, shortly it can be expressed by words "common life" or "co-existence". There is a need for common affairs and common care, so that the World becomes free of wars and hostility, so the world becomes a place of lasting peace. Even the word Dialogue points to two sides, it shows the participants of the dialogue, who meet at first as different people and who try to find the common points to agree on something. But the dialogue is not enough for creating a really good peace. For the good of people, regardless of their differences, including the differences of religious nature and their identities, the world needs a common activity. The well respected Sheikh ul-Islam Pashazade often uses the phrase "religious solidarity". Of course, it does not mean the mixture of religions. And certainly, this solidarity between the followers of great religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam must appear in joint conviction of radicalism and extremism, regardless of the fact which religion they are associated with. One of the most important tasks of religious leaders today is to emphasize the fact that in modern world the religions are called up to be the factor of peace and not the hostility.

At the same time, we should not forget maybe even a more important task of today is to create positive examples of interreligious dialogue. I mean this type of "religious solidarity", which witness the fact that followers of different religions can serve together for the common good. Social work, various forms of charity, helping to refugees, educational programs for children and young people, and finally, more active cooperation of intellectuals, representing different religious traditions all of these are the spheres of possible interreligious cooperation. If this kind of work will be held on diverse levels local, national and international (first of all, in the frames of Big Europe); If in various regions we will create an experience in "positive interreligious peace", meaning the experience that can represent the image for religious solidarity in specific affairs, only then we will have an alternative to that image of "new religious wars", which today alas! is growing its roots in the conscious society, and which sometimes even gets encouraged by supporters of so called "Kind War". In my opinion, we should think well about this alterative.

We should think about the ways how together we can suggest to our World the tangible examples of "kind peace" between religions. It is not an easy task. To manage it well we need many efforts and resources. But if we don"t make it a priority of today, then the interreligious dialogue risks to turn into infinite talks, far from real life of people, who practice different religions, but at the same time coexist in the same society. Thank you for your attention.

General Secretary of Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking Countries

Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Religious leaders and academics,
Distinguished Head of the EVSEN Foundation.

At the outset, please allow me to express my gratitude to address in such an important and timely conference, held in an important capital. Spain is one of the co-sponsors of the initiative of "Alliance of Civilizations". And Turkey is the other co-sponsor, as you all know. I feel proud to attend as the Secretary General of the Turkic Council, which is based in Istanbul, Turkey. I wish to thank the organizers of this conference for their kind invitation.

One cannot tell enough to express the importance of the relationship between religion and peace, especially in today's world. The world we live in is engulfed with wars and conflicts with different manifestations. Social injustice is rampant; poverty, exclusion and segregation are fueling hatred across the world. Historical enmities between communities as well as current political disagreements have turned the world to a peaceless place. Especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" narrative, the focus of academic and public debate on the sources of conflict has mainly centered on religion. Religions, particularly the Abrahamic faiths then started to be portrayed in some circles as the driving forces of conflicts and violence. Religion, not for the first time in history, was attempted by some primitive and ill-fated minds to be presented as an inevitable source of discord and as a childhood disease of humanity that will be thrown in the dustbin of history with so-called development. Such a mindset aimed at finding desperately a link between the conflict and 'so called" religious motivations in order to legitimize its connotation at the cost of turning a blind eye to the worldly underlying causes of conflicts. Distinguished participants, in fact, as true believers, we all know that religions essentially have a great potential for peace, stability and conflict resolution. The moral principles and values contained in the religions are essential factors for the reduction and ultimate eradication of greed, hatred, and delusion, which form the root causes of conflicts and wars. Our religions taught us that the world cannot have peace until nations and people begin to reduce their selfish desires for more and more material possessions, give up their arrogance, and eliminate their madness for worldly power. Material wealth alone cannot bring peace and happiness to people. The key to real and lasting peace lies in disarming the mind and heart from all kinds of poisonous feelings such as greed, hatred, jealousy, egoism. Religion not only inspires and guides people but also provides them with necessary tools to reduce greed with the practice of charity; to overcome hate and aversion with loving-kindness; and to remove ignorance with the development of wisdom and insight in order to understand the true nature of beings and 'see things as they really are." As the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, which was founded as an intergovernmental organization to enhance comprehensive cooperation among its member states in 2009, we continue to work to maintain peace in our region and beyond. By strengthening mutual confidence among the regional countries, by promoting effective regional and bilateral cooperation through creation of favorable conditions for lucrative economic and trade relations, by increasing people to people contact, and by striving to ensure the rule of law and good governance in our member states we try to underpin the peace atmosphere in our region. Turkic Council has also strengthened its cooperation with credible international organizations to promote peace. We organized a joint international conference with the UNAOC on the "Role of Youth in Preventing Violent Extremism" in Istanbul in 2016. Our cooperation with UNAOC, UNDP and other relevant international actors are continuing with the aim of bolstering all efforts that would lead to peace, stability and prosperity in our region.

To conclude, I humbly wish to underline some important things as a professional from the field of diplomacy, not theology. The worldly causes of the acts of violence such as certain antagonisms coming from the past or current political divisions should be well understood before they are portrayed as religiously motivated actions. In most of the world people tend to find religious legitimatization for their worldly behaviors. We need to study the root causes of the problems meticulously before we put the blame on religion irresponsibly. Moreover, I believe, the misinterpretation of scriptural texts for various ulterior motives is something to be dealt with urgently. This terribly awful experience has really marred the very name "religion." A unified response from within the respective religion to such misinterpretations seems highly needed in today's world. This seems to be an urgent task of religion. On this note, I wish to once again thank you for organizing such a timely conference and for the kind invitation. Thank you.

Ex-Minister of the Interior of Spain

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen I want to sincerely thank the Evsen Foundation and its president, Ali Evsen, for this initiative. As we already know, it is the second year when this conference is carried out. I would like to express my gratitude for inviting me to participate. I feel much honored to be with all of you, taking part in such a noble initiative, to aspire to an interreligious dialogue, which contributes to promotion of the culture of peace and harmony among people and nations. I greet the representatives of the three great monotheistic religions, which include the Jewish religion, Islam, and different Christian confessions. Of course, speaking about Christian confessions, we must remember that we have to talk a lot between us to make a peace a reality and we can set an example to others. Because if we as Christians do not agree among us, it is more difficult to convince people that we believe that our faith, which is established on Jesus Christ, can give, and in fact, gives a sense of fulfillment to a life. In addition, I would like to greet the agents of monotheistic religions, ambassadors and all participants.

I listened with great attention to the speakers who have talked before me. I find it very interesting that the Minister of Justice representing the government of Spain has accepted the invitation of the Evsen foundation in the words of its president Ali Evsen regarding this initiative to train, to inform and to educate. It seems fundamental to me. You cannot love, or understand what you do not know. In order to respect, and if possible, give one more degree to that relationship, to love our neighbor, we must know him. We must understand him. If he is a believer of another confession, if we do not know his religion, it is impossible, or at least, very difficult to understand and of course, collaborate. Therefore, the root is in formation, in education, in knowledge and in the exchange of that knowledge. The root of the plant of harmony and peace, which we have seen here today, was symbolized in these white beautiful pigeons. In that declaration, which we sign today, among other things, it states that religion and peace are inseparable. Religion for a believer must in some way be the code of relations with God. And it is evident that God is love and He wants only good for us. And good is absolutely associated with peace and it is an antipode of confrontation, division, hatred and war. I think that we have to spread this idea, so that it is known. Here we talk about interreligious dialogue to foster harmony and peace. Without a doubt, it is absolutely necessary. Since Cain killed Abel, going through interreligious wars, today's terrorism, which takes place under the name of God. There are reasons which make some people believe that religions do not contribute to peace, if not, on the contrary, they contribute to division and confrontation, to war, even to terrorism. We must be able to show them that it is not the truth, that this is not the case. But at the same time, we must recognize that we have given the bad example throughout history. And that is why I have mentioned wars over religion, terrorism in the name of a religion. But I would not want to finish these brief words without mentioning that the dialogue of the religions that fix this.

There are people who believe that there is no God. They are also believers, because they believe in the fact of absence of God. I do not logically share this belief, but I have a duty to respect them. And the degree, which non-believers can reach, sums up in the statement that religions are responsible for a large part of the violence that has existed throughout the history and even happens today. As the Chief Rabbi noted, there was a massacre yesterday in a Baptist church in the US, in the state of Texas. And one day we have news in which, in one way or another, the religion, or a place of worship is associated with violence. Therefore, we have to understand that it can be easy to fall into the trap that pictures the religions as producers of violence. And therefore, we should try to separate religions from public places. I think it is very necessary, in addition to deepen the interreligious dialogue as it is happening here, and much more must be done, and of course, that we dialogue, I insist, with those who attribute to religion and to our God the violence, war and terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope we can see soon a third conference, similar to this one, because in any case all the efforts we make will be not enough, because the goal that we have, the goal to make the world that we live in a more peaceful place, to make it more tolerant and generous; the world, in which the differences are respected, and they do not reject each other for being different, for believing this, for believing the other. All the work we do to try to approach as much as possible to this objective will be well used. We are convinced that working for the good we are working to make a world happier every day. And, I have no doubt, God and our religions demand from us that we work on this direction, and we will be rewarded. But we already have the award, knowing that we are acting for the common good. This is the noblest thing that a man can make on this planet, in which he is destined to live and coexist, called Earth. Thank you very much.

Ex-President of Israel

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I would like to greet the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Moshe Amar, a man, with a religious strength, who reaches tolerance, but always at his limits. I also want to welcome the Chief Rabbi of Caracas, Mr. Cohen and also, the Chief Mufti of Azerbaijan, Mr. Pashazade.

Azerbaijan is a country that has a place in my heart, the president of this country is very dear to me. As well, how can I not greet Cardinal Rouco Varela, responsible for Christianity at that presidential table, and all people, present here, good evening to all of you and shalom. With respect to everybody, distinguished gentlemen and ministers, who have spoken, I would like also to say a word. As we are leaders of the leading countries we are obliged to talk about peace. My dear and respected Dr. Ali Evsen has no such obligation, but he wakes up in the morning thinking and asking himself, in what way he could contribute from his pocket and what he can do for peace that brings us together tonight.

Dr. Ali, what have you done? Tonight we can see so many people present, representing more than 60 countries; we are all united against terror. But it was you, Dr. Ali, who have been able to gather here the representatives of three main religions, as well as ministers of governments, ambassadors, representatives of foundations. And the true idea that came to you and that was accepted by the Minister of Justice is the idea that we will all fight for, so that next year we can gather again and stay strong together against terror. I am a lady that likes education. Along with this, I am a lady that admires the union that Dr. Ali has in his family; so tonight I would like to greet the whole family of Dr. Ali Evsen. As to me, I am a lady who dedicates herself to her daily work, which consists in representing peace in the world. Dr. Ali, with all my heart, I thank you for bringing us tonight all together under the same roof to talk about peace. Only one person has been able to organize and take care of all the details and everything that is behind an event like this conference, which we are taking part at tonight.

Dr. Ali, I wish you with all my heart, that next year we can gather here again, and that the walls of InterContinental hotel become too small for our meeting; although I have nothing against this hotel, but I hope that next year we will be more unified and we will all gather together for the single word, word of peace. Thank you.

Chairman Of The State Committee On Religious Associations Of Azerbaijan

I greet you on behalf of the State Committee of Work with Religious Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and I spread my best wishes to each of you. I am grateful to the organizers and to the Chairman of the Office for Caucasian Muslims H.E. Sheikhulislam for the high-level conference and I wish you success in this event. Shortly before the previous speakers spoke about the importance of Islamic solidarity and gave valuable ideas and suggestions on how to do it. Today Islamic solidarity is the most important task given to the Islamic world. Islamic solidarity is one of the important conditions for achieving harmony and cohesion not only in Muslim countries, but also in the whole world. It is no coincidence that the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, who always responds to the challenges of time, has declared this year as the "Year of Islamic Solidarity" in our country. This subject was discussed in detail in the message that President Ilham Aliyev has sent to this high level conference.

The factors that make Islamic solidarity necessary include political, economic and moral ones. Today there are about 160 conflicts in the world. 40 of them have military clashes, every day people are killed and, unfortunately, most of these wars occur in the Islamic world. In general, the Islamic geography covers a fifth of the world's territory. 24 percent of the world's population and 5 percent of the European population are Muslim. At present, the Muslim community is functioning in 120 countries of the world, that is, people in these countries have set up their own societies. Looking back into history, we have seen repeated steps taken to consolidate the Muslim countries, and the logical outcome of this work is the creation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). After restoring its independence, Azerbaijan became a member of this organization and made significant contributions to the establishment of political unity in the Islamic world. But this is not enough. If it were enough, we would see more solidarity within Islam today. For example, we would be witnessing the creation of an economic union between Muslim countries in the European Union. This issue is also reflected in the President's call for Islamic solidarity. The idea of this call is to make Muslim countries closer to one another, economically, politically and morally, and to defend each other seriously. True, we have political solidarity with the OIC. But I think that OIC members should support each other on international platforms. For example, the negative attitude towards Islamophobia and Islam in the World, especially in the West, is widespread today. However, the Muslim world has not been able to respond adequately to such tendencies and has not been able to advance in the fight against Islamophobia, which is a form of discrimination. Also, one of the factors that calls for solidarity in Islam is political provocations imposed from outside in the Muslim countries. It can be seen in so called "Arab Spring". Islamic solidarity is an important factor in the solution of internal socioeconomic issues that are present in the Muslim world, and it may also mobilize joint efforts against such external interventions. The idea of Islamic solidarity very actual today, and in no case it exists for being against other cultures. The purpose here is not to create any coalition or to discriminate against other cultures. Islamic solidarity is the empowering t the mutually beneficial cooperation on the basis of internal stability in Muslim countries, which can make a great contribution not only to the Islamic world, but also to peace and prosperity all over the world.

As you know, historically the land of Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions are occupied by the armenian armed forces. International law norms are completely violated. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on the unilateral withdrawal of the armenian armed forces from the occupied lands. However, the armenian side ignored these resolutions and destroyed our ancestral graves, mosques, historical and cultural heritage in the occupied lands. Religious monuments are particularly insulted in the occupied territories. The armenians are deliberately bringing the animals forbidden in Islamic religion in mosques of Shusha and Aghdam to bring more disgust. In general, it is impossible to precisely calculate the damage caused by the armenian aggressors, because the destroyed resources were not only the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, but of the world civilization, including the Muslim world. As a result of the conflict more than 1 million Azerbaijanis live a life of refugees; they became internally displaced persons in their native lands. If we look at the world economy today, the share of the Islamic world in the world's economic share (GDP) is 8.5 percent.

This figure is not so great. Even in some areas, backwardness is observed. The reason for this is the conflicts and wars in the Muslim countries. People are killed and the infrastructure is destroyed. About 62 percent of the world's oil reserves and 60 percent of gas reserves are in Muslim countries. There are countries in the Islamic world that have large profits from oil exports, which, unfortunately, focus on their investment, not in Muslim countries, but on other destinations. From this point of view, many times different religious and political leaders attempted to propagandize the diversity of ideas among all Muslims, to explore opportunities for common interests and to respect the opposite. As an example, I can mention the "Week of Unity", the Summit Declaration, or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the International Assembly of the Islamic Propagation Assembly, and etc. The initiative of the government of Azerbaijan made its policy's priority to unite around the common purpose of the Muslim world. It is a reason to be proud for us that our President Ilham Aliyev announced this year as the "Year of Islamic Solidarity", because it shows that our country is very delicate when it comes to the Islamic Union. As President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev noted, Azerbaijan contributes to the strengthening Islamic solidarity: "Declaring this year as the Year of Islamic Solidarity reflects in our policy and our intentions. I am absolutely convinced that we Muslim countries - should resolve the problems between us peacefully and we must build up solidarity ". Last year, our country, which proclaimed 2016 as the Year of Multiculturalism, has already shown to the world that tolerance and religious tolerance are typical to many representatives of our nation. Historically, there has been strong tolerance and friendship between ethnic and religious communities in Azerbaijan, and there has been no discrimination on national, racial or religious grounds. Therefore, declaring the "Islamic Solidarity Anniversary" as an eastern state, a Muslim country, is of great importance not only for the Islamic world, but also for the whole of mankind. In the modern era of inter-religious and inter-sectarian confrontations around the world, there is a lack of tension in this area in our country, which may be seen as the success of this policy. Thanks to the great professionalism and sensitivity of this policy implemented by the Great Leader Heydar Aliyev, nationwide pastoralism, national traditions and religion are cared on state level, freedom of religion and belief in our country is guaranteed, and the possibility of creating conflicts and inter-sectarian conflicts on the religious front is not given.

The greatest achievement in this direction is that the Muslims of the country come together at the "Heydar Mosque" in Baku, simultaneously in the same place. This is a tradition and it is being applied to other mosques today. It is no coincidence that today's conference is held in Spain and particularly in Madrid, a magnificent city. Spain is a unique and exceptional place in the history of Christianity. Spain, however, is historically one of the places where Islam was widely spread in Europe for the first time. Here are the most magnificent monuments of Islam. Spain, which has historically been at the crossroads of cultures, plays an important role in the dialogue of civilizations. It is no coincidence that Spain was the initiator of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. This is the most important platform in the world today for intercultural dialogue and cooperation. The platform, which was launched in 2008 with the Madrid Forum for the first time, continues its path with the 7th Global Forum, which was held in 2016 in Baku. The international conference titled "Contribution of Interreligious Dialogue to Peace and Multicultural Life" with the support of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Spain and Spanish Murcian Catholic University in November last year and the participation of heads of religious communities operating in Azerbaijan under the leadership of Sheikhulislam is the next contribution of the two countries to dialogue and cooperation in the world. I am convinced that the mutual friendship and cooperation between Spain and Azerbaijan will further expand and develop.

Chief Rabbi of Venezuela

Sirs of the presidium,
Dear guests,
Dr. Ali Evsen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Isaiah in chapter 11, verse 6: the prophet of peace announces that one day the wolf will dwell with the lamb. For this to be possible the wolf must make certain changes in his habitual diet and the lamb must be willing to make new friends. Understanding and concord are born in change and trust. On one hand we must change rifles and grenades for words and arguments. On the other hand, we must learn to trust each other. Let go of the habit of resorting to violence, to assert our convictions and learn to believe in the human being endowed with an immortal and sacred soul whose essence was molded and illuminated by the hand of God.

When King David wanted to build a house of God, the Temple of Jerusalem, God told him in chronicles chapter 1,283: "You will not build a house in my name, because you are a man of war". And David wrote in Psalm 3415: 'seek Peace and pursue it". His son Solomon built the temple and David, whom the circumstances have pushed to war; throughout his life understood that there is no greater merit before God than peace. Shalom. This teaches us that the process of peace that we have been talking about all afternoon begins with 3 preceding steps. First is to listen to your neighbor, second - open your heart and behave with justice.

Peace becomes impossible in the face of outrage and uncertainty. That is why Isaiah explains us in chapter 3217: "The work of justice will be Peace". And as we read in one of the psalms of the children of Core Psalm 85 verse 11, justice and peace kiss, in addition, justice is nourished by truth and truth cannot be capricious and whimsical. It cannot belong to the one who screams the loudest, and even less to the person who lies best, nor to the person who is best promoted in the advertising media. Or the one who has the best weapons and the most fearsome armies. Truth and justice belong to God and is based on a whole series of principles that God revealed to the human being so that he would overcome himself spiritually and find a way to live in peace and harmony. The ethical thesis of Judaism teaches us the following: the world is sustained on 3 things: justice, truth and peace. Justice is based on the truth. And only there where justice and truth present it is possible the true peace. God is the moral of humanity. Without the knowledge of God the human being would be conquered and crushed by materialism and cruelty. Abraham-the patriarch discovered God to save the world from plunder and violence. Let us remember once more the imperishable message of Isaiah Chapter 57, verse 19. I cite: Shalom, Shalom! - Peace, Peace to those who are far away and those who are near. Peace is universal. There is no peace in patches; if my neighbor is not at peace I cannot be either. True peace will come to the world when all human beings, children of God regardless of race, language, culture or religion, enjoy it equally.

I finish my words with which the priests blessed the people in the temple of Jerusalem and it is still done in the synagogues. "God lift up your face towards you and grant you peace".

Member of Azerbaijani Parliament,
President of the Work Committee of the Parliament of Azerbaijan on Cultural Affairs

A thousand years ago, the distances between countries and cities were much longer than they are nowadays. In fact, the world is that world, and it has neither expanded nor shrunk. Simply, the means for shortening the distances have changed. However, in those remote medieval centuries, when there were no planes, trains, and fast ships, beautiful Spain was much closer to the four continents of that civil world than any other European country. Because there were very serious means and reasons ensuring this closeness. In the 10th century, when the advanced countries of the present Europe still did not know what the paper was, there were many bookstores and 17 constantly operating libraries in Cordoba, the capital of Andalusia. The distance between my country Azerbaijan and Spain is thousands of kilometers. Nevertheless, the historical sources prove that at that time the scholars and poets of Andalusia were wellknown in our land, and the handwritten books of Azerbaijani scientists and poets had reached Cordoba as well. In the 13th century Nasraddin Tusi, the great mathematician, astronomer and literary man of Azerbaijan, who lately gave his name to a crater in the Moon, created an observatory and academy in the city of Maragha. Among the scholars from different parts of the world there were also some who had come from Andalusia. Arabic and Persian like Latin had grown into the common language of science and poetry at that time. There were Islamic culture and common moral values that compacted and made closer a vast area from Central Asia to India, from Spain to the Caucasus. Islamic civilization was a common heritage jointly created by many nations, which made nations with very diverse and rich languages, religions, customs and traditions as well as their representatives very harmonious, close and native.

Namely due to this close relationship and commonality, at early 9th century Spain was considered as Europe's intellectual center and Andalusia was called "Pearl of the Continent". In Andalusia of X-XI centuries there were 700 mosques, along with synagogues and churches welcoming the worshipers every day. In my homeland, in the capital city of Baku, there is an old city with a total area of 20 hectares, surrounded by fortress walls. Life is boiling there again as it did 1000 years ago. As in Spain, religions and cultures there in IX-X centuries did not just enter into a friendly dialogue but also supported each other being together. In the same place called both previously and nowadays "Ichari Shahar", the temple of fire worship, churches and the mosques are next to each other and the distance between them is measured several meters. But now it is the 21st century, since 2001 I have been several times every year to Strasbourg in France for attending the meetings of PACE, as a member of this organization and representative of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan and when I see police officers standing in front of God's houses to prevent provocations that may occasionally occur, I feel sorry. After all, we have reliable interreligious and intercultural dialogue models that have passed though the tests of history as well as historical experiences showing the right path to the peaceful coexistence in multicultural terms through taking advantage of one other. Why do they no more justify themselves, or why are these tools not operating at the desired level now? In my opinion, there are mechanisms that are systematically applied against them. Certain political forces are consistently doing their job for ensuring islamophobia remain on agenda as well as preventing the conflicts between religions, cultures and peoples from stagnation. Disintegrating and sewing the seeds of discord generate favorable conditions for the realization of the evil intentions of those political forces. If thoroughly investigated, it becomes evident that not the fanatics of individual religions, but separate political and ideological centers trying to mix up the world usually stand behind the insult of the saints and values belonging to different religions, as well as behind the perpetration of terrorist attacks and various types of provocations. What to do, where is the way-out? There is no need for long-term thoughts for the search of remedy. There are quite enough reliable, time-tested valid mechanisms and useful formulas. Maulana Jalaladdin Rumi, the most famous and well-known Muslim figure in contemporary world after the Prophet Muhammad, the great thinker of the 13th century, in his "Masnavi" has manifested the causes of misunderstandings, contradictions, differences among nations also pointing out the golden rule for achieving unity. This 800 year old advice and recommendation fully preserves its validity: (Speaking the same language means kinship and unity. A man beside a person spiritually alien to him is like a prisoner. There are so many Indians and Turks as if speaking the same language and being spiritually native to one another. Also there are many Turks completely negtlecting one another. So, the language of the mutual understandanding is quite different. Being the same as the heart is superior to speaking the same language). One of the most bold expressions of the recent period is the word "tolerance". If we focus on the essence, then this notion is not so heartwarming. In my opinion, the atmosphere must be so healthy and in the community life we must reach such high levels of behaviour and morality that we don᾽t have to tolerate those distinct from us through pressing our patience and consider it as a success. After we accept those distinct from us as natives and turn this rule into our daily living condition, we can aquire the peaceful atmosphere which we can amicably reside as our common nest.

Azerbaijan is known as a country that has established a harmonious combination of the most diverse religions and cultures around the world. Moreover, the year of 2017 was declared the Year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan. So, the ending year of 2017 is remembered by us as a timeframe when good relationship with all world muslims and other religions and cultures were maintained as well as a series of projects were implemented within a special state programme. Regardless of the number of your statements, of the extent of your speeches dedicated to your loyalty to multicultural values, of the number of the events organized and dedicated by you to these issues, if you do not have the proper traditions and the foundations deriving from the historical memory, it is very odd to get positive results. Therefore, every nation, every country must first of all look at his past, try to resume such traditions, habits, lessons and teachings existing in the past as well as continue them in accordance with the requirements of the new day. In this case, the success will definitely find us more quickly. The Prophet Muhammad said, "Allah is Beautiful and Loves the Beautiful" and this world is our common house created in conformity with the divine laws of beauty and entrusted to mankind by God Almighty. Let's love one another, be the same heart and safely guard our world and ourselves!

President of the Islamic Commission of Spain

In the name of God, Authorities, ambassadors, religious representatives and all invited guests, One of the pillars of the Muslim faith, Islam, is to believe in the prophets. Islam is very important and is in the heart of every Muslim. Throughout the history there are many prophets with their messages. The holy Koran has 25 names, but also cites thousands and thousands of prophets for all humanity, and the most prominent ones are Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. As mentioned in Koran, Prophet Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, is the last prophet and the messenger of God. Therefore, there was and there is a natural acceptance, of the various religious communities and their convictions by Muslim believers; they are not questioned by Muslims, on contrary, they are respected. In fact, since the early days of Islam, Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together, considering the believers of different religious confessions the equal citizens since the signature of the first written constitution, the constitution of Medina. As it was an inclusive state of all communities of believers, the same prophet Mohamed had Jewish neighbors, who he always respected. Even when the Christians of other place came to visit the Prophet Muhammad, they stayed in the same mosque as the prophet, and when they wanted to go out to pray, he said, "No, you can pray in this mosque." Therefore, it was natural when we had recently arrived in Spain some priests let Muslims to pray in their church. Praying spaces nowadays are not needed because the authorities have provided all possible facilities for Muslims, Evangelicals, Jews, and of course, Catholics. The divine and prophetic mandate, contemplated in Koran, says that it is excellence for the Muslims to treat well the Christians and the Jews, with maximum respect to their religions, and to their temples. Today in Spain we Muslims continue this way of behavior.

At the present, we have the most important date, when will happen the signing of the cooperation agreements of the Spanish state with the Jewish, evangelical and Muslim confessions. This event indicates the normality of our life here in Spain and it makes it possible to have equality among all religious confessions, at least, on legal terms. We now live in harmony and peace with citizens, with other religious minorities and with the Catholic majority in a space and in a common present and future. Before any forgetfulness or ignorance of Islamic belief we must explain again that harmony and peace are an integral part of Islam. Semantically, Islam is peace. And the name of God in the substantive is peace. Every day after each prayer we call God with his name of peace. You are peace, You are worthy of all glory. With the will of God. Thus, the Islamic and Muslim religious institutions must give example of harmony and peace with our daily coexistence looking for the common good, infecting others with conditions and scenarios of respect and appreciation. We should not only co exist, but live together for a future in peace, harmony and progress. Thank you very much.

Rector of Baku State University

Dear participants and guests!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I would like to give the most sincere welcome to the Second Conference on Religions and their Contribution to Concord and Peace, organized with the aim of highlighting the role of religion in the consolidation of society. It should be noted that the Government of Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the contribution of religious denominations to questions of peace and intercultural dialogue. Its capital, Baku, has become the international platform, where measures are defined to bring countries, civilizations and religions closer together.

Despite the armenian occupation of more than 20% of our historical territory, which includes Nagorno Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions, Azerbaijan demonstrates its tolerance to the whole world. Our country is considered as a model of interreligious relations and its capital, Baku, - as a symbol of the tolerance. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation supports projects for the preservation of the religious-cultural heritage not only in Azerbaijan, but throughout the world. Azerbaijan is doing a great job of promoting interreligious dialogue in favor of peace and harmony, with the aim that we can all put the values of humanity above our own.

Dear participants:
Summing up my speech, I would like to express my confidence that this Conference on Religions will continue to make its contribution in harmony and peace. Once again I express my gratitude for the participation and wish a successful development of the Day. Thank you for your attention.