Thousands call for an end to religious intolerance in Brazil

7th March Against Religious Intolerance in Rio de Janeiro, September 21, 2014 (2)



On September 21 over 7.000 people marched along Atlantic Avenue in Copacabana, calling for an end to religious intolerance. With different religious creeds represented, the Seventh March in Defense of Freedom of religion gave visibility to the cries within society for an end to religious intolerance.

The event brought together representatives from Candomble, Umbanda, Spiritist, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Evangelical and other religious groups. They called on society to lead the fight against religious intolerance, that manifests itself through offenses and attacks on temples in different regions of the country, especially against religions of African origin.

The Council of Christian Churches of the State of Rio de Janeiro (CONIC-Rio) made public its intention to take part in the rebuilding of the temples that have suffered damage. “We need to have a counter testimony in response to an action as powerful as that destruction. We want to show that those attitudes, that are presented as being Christian behavior, do not represent us,” said Pastor Lusmarina Campos Garcia, President of CONIC-Rio.

Babalawo representative Ivanir dos Santos, an interlocutor of the Commission to Fight Religious Intolerance (CCIR) that promoted the protest march, emphasized that Brazil needs to treat all religions equally and to move forward in the fight against religious hatred. “We have a National Plan to Fight Religious Intolerance that was presented to the Lula government and still nothing has happened,” he reminded Ideli Salvatti, Minister of the Secretariat for Human Rights, who was present at the march.

The minister heard the religious leader’s words and affirmed that he was right in regard to what he was demanding. “We have a debt with the society on those aspects. We have the guidelines to combat intolerance in our National Human Rights Plan, but we have only been able to bring about the Committee on Religious Diversity this year. And one of the main tasks is to organize and stimulate the creation of committees in the states, because the matter of safety is a prerogative of theirs,” Salvatti said..

Photo: 7th March Against Religious Intolerance in Rio de Janeiro, September 21, 2014

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