The following speeches and addresses were delivered from speakers in the 1st Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom which was held in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium in November 2010.


Greetings of Prime Minister Leterme of Belgium

Prime Minister Of Belgium

NOVEMBER 16, 2010

"I warmly welcome the participants to this very interesting conference and I wish them very successful debates."

"Freedom of opinion is an essential value of the European Union. Freedom of opinion is a cornerstone of democracy. It is a basic part of human dignity. The right to think and speak freely is the birthright of every human being."

"Freedom of religion is part and parcel of the freedom of opinion. This freedom is guaranteed by a secular democratic state, which means a political system where there is a separation between state and religion. I would like to particularly stress one thing in connection with the secular state."

"This is not a state which is hostile towards religion, towards any religion. The secular state is a state which forms a neutral space for all religions and philosophical convictions as long as they not violate the democratic laws, which treats all religions and philosophical convictions in an equal way."

"This same philosophy separation of religion and political power applies to the European Union which is, and must remain, a space of openness and tolerance."

"I very much hope that your conference may build a bridge between Turkey and Europe on the subject of this essential value, and wish you all success in this endeavour.'