Community development, Social inclusion

Majlis – seating of change

Building bridges between majority, local Muslim communities and Muslim migrants and refuting deeply rooted misconceptions via giving opportunity to public to meet their Muslim neighbors in person.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Maroš Žofčin

Islamic Foundation in Slovakia

http://www.islamonline.sk

Slovakia

Idea

Idea pitch

We propose a series of 7 innovative format events as a centre for social encounters in 7 Slovak cities that will promote multicultural heritage/show current diversity to the general public, especially through common values&benefits. Majlis offers a platform for discussions about diverse issues, fostering the creation of original perspectives through openness and collective thinking. It aims to initiate meaningful connections between people, cultures&beliefs by stimulating an enriched dialogue.

Where will your project idea take place?

7 cities with local Muslim community and/or history of Islamic presence.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The fear of Muslims, Immigants and Islam is very much virtual. Most of the people have yet to meet actual Muslims. We aim to correct this via personal experience with actual Slovak Muslims (interactive discussions, we will try to include local Muslims from areas of our events), their cuisine, factual information (lectures) and also by pointing out to Muslim history of those lands (Ottoman presence), in general the experience of „majlis“. It is very common that most tolerant are people with personal experiences with „the others'' so this is what the proposal aims to achieve.

Who are you doing it for?

The 1st target group is the public society. We believe that society in denial can’t reach its full potential. By refuting misconceptions of people in Slovak society, letting them experience „majlis“ first hand and talk directly to Muslims, preferably from their area (they can chat, exchange contact, etc.) we will create new ambassadors of positive change. They will see what their Muslim neighbours are really like and they will understand what they have to offer. Then they themselves, when faced with misconceptions, will already be equipped with means to refute them. 2nd target group are Slovak Muslims, who are victim of anti-Muslim attitudes in society. The proposal itself will not make it end, but it will be a push towards a more inclusive environment for Slovak Muslims to live in.

How do you plan to get there?

Activity 1: Majlis is purchased/manufactured (seating and decorations). It will also be a useful inventory for the years to come in culture center Cordoba (which Islamic Foundation in Slovakia administers) and for future activities after the project.

Activity 2: Cities will be selected; venues will be contacted, and dates will be chosen, local teams will be assembled. Program for majlis will be created. Activities will include professional lectures, exhibitions of art (reflecting diversity of cultures, people, or languages), panel discussions (also inter-faith incl. religious leaders) on co-existence, screening of short films, workshops for families with children (games for kids, Muslim clothing, etc.). Via including local Muslims, we would like to make this societal contribution visible. Many local Muslims work as doctors, paramedics, or other experts. They’ll speak about their contribution. The project’s goal is to build trust in favor of civic coexistence and belonging (such as conflict prevention/elimination). We expect 20 active participants, 6-10 volunteers, 700+ visitors, and indirect benefiters 2,000+.

Activity 3: Promotion – before the events they will be heavily promoted on social networks, there will be video and photo material from events made that will be promoted on social networks afterwards. Events will also be promoted via press-releases.

What are the expected results?

We expect visitors to be more aware of their Muslim neighbors. We hope for them to build their opinions more on facts rather than hoaxes and misconceptions and we believe that they will be more aware of the historical facts of former Muslim presence in cities where this is relevant. Several measures will be taken to measure this. Prior to the event there will be an online quiz with a few simple questions on the topic distributed via boosted Facebook posts in the locality where the event will be about to take place. Another quiz with similar (not same, but comparable) questions will be distributed after the event. Also, small paper sheets with quiz questions will be handed out to some of the visitors upon their entry and another one once they will be leaving.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We aim to include members of local Muslim communities as much as possible. They will be invited to join in any way that is comfortable to them – (preferably) as a staff of majlis, so they will be present and ready to debate with visitors, doing workshops, readying refreshments etc., but they may also join as visitors only, should they not be familiar with INS yet. We not only do this for visitors to meet their local Muslim neighbors but also foster cooperation Muslims in regions, involve them in activities, train them so that we can build on cooperation with them in our future projects. Building network of active Muslim citizens in different cities around Slovakia is one of long-term strategic goals of Islamic Foundation in Slovakia.

Why is this idea important to you?

During the last number of years Islamic Foundation in Slovakia worked on a number of projects promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue. We built network of peer-mediators – Muslims and supporters in various regions of Slovakia that are ready to participate at our activities (https://www.islamonline.sk/neznami-susedia/), we have ongoing tour “Priest, imam and rabbi meet together…” (https://www.uri.org/uri-story/20180226-mario-nicolini-shares-encouraging-interfaith-news) that promotes understanding between religious communities and we are doing annual festive dinner (iftar) during Ramadan with honorable guests from different areas of Slovak society (https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1268639896651244).

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Cerating and storing Majlis: 5820 EUR
Majlis events: 13510 EUR
Media expenses: 2100 EUR
Personnel costs: 10218,60 EUR
Administrative costs: 3351,40 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

If you have any suggestion how to make these Majlises even more attractive, what activities people would enjoy, what workshops work the best, please let us know. All tips are welcomed and will be thoroughly reviewed.

Team

Islamská nadácia na Slovensku

Idea created on April 23, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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