The Training seminar” Islamophobija in Serbia” was held in Novi Pazar in period 15.-20. May 2007. It gathered 30 participants with different religious and ethnic background from Serbia and B&H. Organizations selected young, successful individuals who work in politics, media, and NGO sector who are interested to discuss Islamophobia and situation of religious diversity in this countries.
The Objectives of this seminar were to discuss Islamophobia in Serbia and to analyze specific governmental measures that have been taken (or need to be taken) in Serbia in order to promote religious diversity and tolerance.
Objective of seminar was also to gather young people with different religious believe in order to discuss concrete actions that could be taken to promote religious diversity and fight Islamophobia.
In this purpose, through the interactive 5 day seminar, the participants have learned about Islamophobia in Europe, role of state and media in the fight against this problem and discuss the differences and similarities between Western Europe and Balkan in terms of religious diversity and Islamophobia. During presentations of situation in their countries (from their point of view) participants have also discussed certain situations from the past and have tried to make connection between the conflicts and religion, although majority of participants have opinion that this conflict have been ethnic and territorial, not about fights between Christians and Muslims. They also came to conclusion that prejudices about Muslims in this region are not as strong as in Western Europe and differ from those in Western Europe based on present situation and media propaganda that all Muslims are terrorists. Participants concluded that distance between Muslims and Christians in these territories based on history of being enemies from time of Ottoman occupation of 500 years. Furthermore, participants agreed that we all need to forget what was happening in the past and turn to the future and the best way is to facilitate new young people to create contacts and cooperation between each other. At the end of seminar, they worked on concrete proposals about future projects and actions that need to be done in order to solve existing problems between people with different religious views in this region. Presentation of campaign “All Different – All Equal” has stimulated participants to create projects which could be seen as promotion of the campaign.
This seminar show that young people who are from different ethnical group with different religious views can easily work together on improvement of co-operation between different religions in region because this problem affect all of them. We believe that is very important for young people to be aware of necessity of there participation in solving this problem.