A three day conference under the theme the promotion of the religious culture of tolerance and coexistence opened on Tuesday at the African Union Conference Hall in Addis Ababa.
Organized by the Ministry of Federal Affairs in collaboration with the Ethiopia Inter-Religious Council, the conference intends to discuss the constitution, and the observance of freedom of religion in Ethiopia. Participants came from all over the country.
Addressing the opening session, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn thanked the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia for their efforts in combating fundamentalism and terrorism and called upon all citizens to maintain their effort.
He emphasized that Ethiopia's constitution clearly showed the separation of state and religion. The state did not interfere in religious matters and religion shall not interfere in state affairs, he said.
According to the Premier, the fulfillment of this required the full respect of both individual and peoples' fundamental freedoms and rights, to live together on the basis of equality and without any discrimination of gender, religion or culture.
It was the successful implementation of this that helped the country achieve double digit economic growth, benefitting all equally and realizing the Ethiopian renaissance.
The conference was also addressed by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abune Mathias, and President of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council Sheik Kiyar Mohamed.
Both leaders emphasized that peaceful coexistence and tolerance are basic tenets of all faiths.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs