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"Ethics, religion and social change"

Concept paper for the workshop organized on February 9th

Round table
World Social Forum – Dakar 2011

Date: February 9, 2011
Time: 8:30 – 11:30
Place: Cheikh Anta Diop University

Religion is an inevitable force for social, economic, political and cultural change which should invent a new world. It puts forward the political ethics on which today’s globalisation and its anthropocentric vision of man are based : attacks on the environment, overpopulation, decline of biodiversity in agricultural and natural ecosystems etc., - consequences of this state of mind that imbues our society and pushes us to see animals, plants or nature in general as things created for the use of man and which he can make use of as he pleases.

The question that is posed is that of the meaning of our life, of the value that our society of consumption gives to life under all its forms.
The religious sphere structures groups in their social and religious practice and is often a synonym of violence in its interpretation and in human practices linked to it.
Religions do not only play a role in the relations between humanity and nature, but also in the relations within the human community, which also need questioning.
Considering the interposing of the economic, social, political and religious spheres, it is striking that the religious is so marginal in the re-interrogation that has been done of development approaches these past years.

Objective of the workshop:

Confront diverse opinions and experiences on the link between religion and social change in order to identify a richer vision of development that integrates the religious dimension.

Sophie Bessis (France),
Emmanuel Ndione (Enda GRAF),
Sally Rousset (Development and Civilisations Lebret-IRFED),
Serigne Saliou Mbacké (IFAPA),
Abbé Seck (Senegal)

Moderator: Cheikh Guèye (Enda Tiers Monde)

Workshop organizers:
ENDA Tiers Monde,
Enda GRAF Sahel Afrique de l’Ouest,
Développement et Civilisations Lebret-IRFED (Paris),
IFAPA (Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa)

Main points of the debate:

Sophie Bessis (Tunisia):
"We must reflect together on a type of ocupation of the social space by religions, which would not be an obstacle to citizenship"

Cheikh Saliou (IFAPA):
"Interreligious dialogue, not through theological debates but in action. Gather all the values shared by religions in order to avoid manipulation and bring solutions to the develoment problems."

Sally Rousset (Development and civilizations International Network):
"Religious diversity, secularism, citizenship and democracy: how can the experience and the analysis of grassroot organizations contribute to better understanding of the situations we are faced to and to the implementation of the "living together"."
"Grassroots organizations are increasingly challenged by the need to consider the link, within the territories where they operate, between the manifestations (positive or negative) of religion and their fields of commitment and action (fight against poverty, human rights, access to essential services, etc.)."

Father Jacques Seck (Senegal):
"Tolerance towards religious minorities? The issue is not to be tolerated, but to be recognized!"

Ludovic (Intercultural Lebret Centre of Dakar):
"For religion to be a driving force for development, we should get out of the dualmanipulation: the political that tries to manipulate the religious, the religion that tries tomanipulate the political …"

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