MJC 2014 – Day 4

The bulk of the 4th day of the Muslim Jewish Conference was devoted towards participants in their committee groups. The committee sessions are the heart and soul of the MJC, as it offers a place of refuge for participants of both faiths to come together and discuss their thoughts and feelings in a respectful manner in a safe environment without fear of judgement or backlash. For many, this is a privilege that is not readily available in their home countries.

Staying true to the MJC motto of talking to each other as opposed to about each other, participants were encouraged by their respective chairs of committees to engage in dialogue in order to cultivate a sense of understanding between one another. Rather than to focus on differences between the two faiths, participants were encouraged to discuss similarities instead. For example, in the committee group Power & Authority, participants discussed the inequality between men and women within both Muslim and Jewish communities.

Sharing of personal experiences proved to be an effective tool particularly in Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the Media; as participants exchanged experiences of encountering distorted information concerning their religious group.

In Gender & Religion, the misconception of Zionism and Judaism being synonymous was addressed by Jewish participants as Muslim participants posed questions about the difference in identifying with one or the other.

The Collective Memory group discussed the significance of incorporating survivor stories in perpetuating knowledge and finally, in Historical Narratives, participants explored how the concept of historical narratives can be transformed in order to moderate gross generalisations.

The 4th day of the Muslim Jewish Conference was rounded off by a formal dinner at the Vienna City Hall, Rathaus. The MJC delegation was welcomed by Peter Florianschtz member of the Socialist Party and the Secretary General of MJC, Ilja Sichrovsky, before gearing up for their final committee sessions of the evening!