17 March 2023
Ayuntamiento de Bilbao
The University of Deusto, through Eduardo Ruiz Viéytez and Gorka Urrutia from the Human Rights Institute, has participated in a new meeting of the Religious Diversity Roundtable, the dialogue forum organised by the Bilbao City Council between Council representatives and the various active religious denominations (nine) in the city.
Led by the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, along with the Councillor for Cooperation, Coexistence and Festivals, Itziar Urtasun, the session held on 17 March focused on the Action Plan of the Charter for the Municipal Management of Religious Diversity - which was presented by Gorka and Eduardo Ruiz Vieytez – given that the municipal approach is to go a step further and propose concrete and specific measures to ensure that freedom of religion can be exercised effectively by the citizens of the various denominations. At the meeting, which was attended by eleven representatives of different denominations, the results of the city's self-assessment of the plan were presented.
Specifically, the areas of public attention and municipal organisation, institutional representation and communication, citizen participation, public space and public safety, urban planning and places of worship, social intervention, cemeteries and funeral services, food services, culture and heritage, awareness-raising and training, and inter-municipal and cross-border exchanges were analysed.
The Religious Diversity Roundtable was held at the City Hall and was attended by representatives of the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Council of the Basque Country, the Evangelical Church of Philadelphia, the Adventist Church, the Assalam Mosque, the Bader Mosque, the Al Forkan Mosque, the Rekalde Mosque, the Mourides Brotherhood, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Bahá'i Community.
The Interfaith Table meets regularly and is a space for reflection and the development of actions aimed at promoting the exercise of freedom of conscience and religion in a context of citizen coexistence in diversity and the defence of human rights in the city, characterised by non-confessionalism.
Thanks to the creation of this forum, the City Council is developing policies related to the public management of religious diversity in the municipal sphere to seek, on the one hand, knowledge of the current socio-religious reality in Bilbao and, on the other, recognition; in other words, coordination between the public administration and the different religious entities and sensitivities.