Mr. Jura Nanuk, founder and president of the Central-European Religious Freedom Institute (CERFI) based in Budapest, Hungary, spoke on the topic of “Religious Freedom in Hungary and the New Law on Minority Faiths”. Mr. Nanuk said he was inspired to start his institute by an anonymous quote, “Sometimes I want to ask Godwhy He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, but I’m afraid He may ask me the same question.” He explained that many religious groups lost their status as a church as a result of the new law passed in parliament this year. Many voices were raised against this law and a program was started in which different religious groups came together despite the fear of losing their positions. Under international pressure, some improvements have been made, but the struggle is still on for many minorities. He reminded us that many Jews were deported during WWII. The Jews were told that they didn’t have enough members to be registered.
Mr. Nanuk thanked UPF for enabling him to raise this issue at a previous European Leadership Conference in the UK parliament. After the publication of an open letter, the question of religious freedom in Hungary was raised in the European parliament and a complaint was filed to the Hungarian ombudsman. All these actions combined culminated in Hungary starting to reconsider its law in October when after receiving pressure from various sources.