In a meeting held in Madrid on 10 December, Human Rights Day, CEC Executive Secretary Dr Elizabeta Kitanovic met with leaders from CEC Member Churches in Spain to discuss the security situation in the country. She presented CEC’s SASCE project (Safer and Stronger Communities in Europe) funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police.
Among the participants in the meeting were Rev. Alfredo Abad, president of the Spanish Evangelical Church, Ms Carolina Bueno, Associate Executive Secretary of Federation of the Protestant and Evangelical Churches in Spain (FEREDE) and Rt. Rev. Dr Carlos Lopez Lozano, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Spain (Anglican Communion).
The European Commission guides and the action plan on the protection of public spaces were presented and reviewed in the meeting. The crisis management and security awareness videos from SASCE were also shared and discussed.
The church leaders expressed their concern about existing populist divisions in Spanish society and the need for stronger inter-confessional and inter-religious cooperation, which are the foundations for a safer and stronger Spanish society.
President of the Spanish Evangelical Church, Rev. Alfredo Abad said, “Today we celebrate Human Rights Day where we recommit ourselves to the protection and promotion of human rights and religious freedom. We stand with each other in solidarity and recognise that attacks on one community are attacks on everyone. Inter-religious cooperation reflected in the SASCE project is a good model of working together to strengthen social cohesion and democratic pluralism in Spanish society.”
It was affirmed that Spanish churches have a good and established cooperation with Law Enforcement in the area of hate crime and hate speech with relation to antisemitism and Islamophobia. Churches participate very actively in the Spanish governmental structure related to pluralism, living together and strengthening religious pluralism in Spanish society.
The participants affirmed that building mutual trust in society is the key to living together and promoting the safety of all. “Together we are safer.”