Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders were due to meet European Union officials yesterday to explore how inter-religious dialogue can combat terrorism and tensions from immigration while promoting peace in the Mediterranean and Middle East. The EU conference, which includes most EU interior ministers and union officials, took place in Rome yesterday. Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu of Italy, which holds the EU rotating presidency, chaired the event. Today, the ministers will have an audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. The meetings take place against the backdrop of an EU debate over whether to include a reference to God in the bloc's first-ever constitution. The EU is divided over whether to have a mention of Europe's Judeo-Christian roots in the EU constitution. Italy and Spain, as well as Poland, which will joins the EU in May, have supported Vatican appeals in favour of an explicit reference to God. But other members states, led by France, have opposed the idea. Religious leaders attending the conference include: Charlotte Knobloch, deputy leader of the Central Council of German Jews; Dalil Boubakeur, president of the French Council of Muslims, Anglican bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert; and Antonio Canizares Llovera, Catholic archbishop of Toledo, Spain.
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