The seminar on “Islam in Europe – between assimilation and rejection” organised by EFIL with the support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe took place in Dilbeek, Belgium from 5 to 11 April 2016. During a 5-day long programme, participants from 14 AFS organisations in Europe and North Africa, widened their basic knowledge of Islam and interfaith dialogue, explored the reasons behind islamophobia in Europe historically and today, discussed the role and responsibility of AFS in fighting religious discrimination and outlined their own follow-up projects.
The programme also included a day with field visits to a local Red Cross refugee centre, The Grand Mosque of Brussels, CEJI – a Jewish contribution against discrimination and FEMYSO – Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations. In addition, participants took part in a guided tour on the history of integration in Brussels by walking through Molenbeek – one of the communes in Brussels with the highest number of immigrants.
One of the main discussion items of the seminar was how AFS should address Islamophobia, and if this is a responsibility and role of AFS. We trust that the seminar participants through AFS will inspire more people, local communities, and the society as a whole, to take measures on all levels to combat Islamophobia. In general, the seminar group encouraged AFS volunteers and AFS partners to be an actor fighting Islamophobia and preventing discrimination of Muslim through AFS programmes and activities.
The seminar contributed to EFIL’s theme for 2016 – “Building Peaceful Societies”.
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