Letter of the President

Religious fundamentalism most often manifests as a politically-religious ideology that entirely or partially rejects the ideas of cultural globalism. Those ideas being the phenomena of: religious tolerance, ecumenism and neo ecumenism; secularization; modern achievements in science and technology. They are for various reasons not compatible with the doctrines and practices of religious fundamentalists and extremists. Out of all the Universalist religions, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism have shown to be the strongest forces of globalization in the postmodern era. The sudden and constant demographic growth of Muslims worldwide leads us to the assumption that Islam might become the strongest religion of globalization. On the other hand, fundamentalism represents a type of an answer to the challenge of globalization. The idea is to establish a moral system of religious and traditional cultural values. The biggest problem of religious fundamentalism and extremism is the idea that only the cultural traditions of Muslim civilization and Sharia law are acceptable. Furthermore, religious institutions, especially Christian ones, are trying to realize a more universal approach towards the believers of other religions. In this regard, religious communities and groups are trying to practically implement the principles of ecumenism and neo ecumenism, trying to unite believers with different confessional belongings. Instead of starting by emphasizing the differences, using this principle, religious institutions emphasize the common beliefs and religious values that should become common for the entire world in the global era. Contrary to the exclusivity of fundamentalism, ecumenism suggests a plan through which religious tolerance and dialogue could be led by universal religious values and moral norms.

In regards to the religious situation in Europe, the following dilemmas and questions are asked:

  • Does religion have a positive or negative role in Europe?
  • Is secularization in Europe a myth or reality?
  • Is a process of desecularization, or even sacralization, happening in the contemporary European society?
  • Are religious organizations becoming more and more profane in their activities?
  • Is the process of ethno-religious mobilization taking place in Europe?
  • Why does religious fundamentalism reject the practical implementation of the principles of secularization and religious tolerance?
  • Is the process of religious universalism happening in Europe through the ideas of ecumenism and neo ecumenism, and if yes, to what extent?
  • What is the role of religious tolerance as a principle between religious particularism and religious universalism in Europe?
  • To what extent are the religious organizations in Europe practically implementing the principles of religious tolerance?

As the director of CISR and president of the Program Board, I am inviting you to unite our results and analyses of our scientific studies, all with the goal of trying to answer the above-mentioned questions and dilemmas. I am also inviting you to experience the world famous Macedonian hospitality in the magnificent Struga on the coast of Lake Ohrid.

I am expecting you in North Macedonia!