Russian forum to promote religious tolerance leaves out certain faiths

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

MOSCOW (AP) Hundreds of religious leaders from former Soviet republics held a meeting this week intended to increase religious tolerance, but the session excluded faiths regarded as nontraditional.

Participants came only from what Russia recognizes as ''traditional religions'': Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. The absent faiths were ''exported to us'' in later times, said Metropolitan Kirill, head of Russian Orthodoxy's external relations department.

Since the Soviet Union fell, the predominant religions in the region have complained that Roman Catholicism and other faith groups are poaching for converts on their territory.

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