Social inclusion


Combating Islamophobia through Empowerment, Inter-religious Dialogue and Awareness-raising


Who is behind this?

Barbora Meššová

Liga za ľudské práva // Human Rights League Slovakia


Who is joining forces?

Islamská nadácia na Slovensku // Islamic Foundation in Slovakia


HRL provides legal aid to migrants and promotes welcome culture. IFS represents Muslim community in Slovakia and engages in inter-religious dialogue. Together they want to reduce islamophobia.


Idea pitch

Islamophobia has increased considerably in Slovakia, but… What if Slovaks meet their Muslim neighbors? What if Priest, Rabbi and Imam meet in Encounter? Slovaks know very little about Islam and Muslim community living in Slovakia, often they associate it with security risks. We will provide them with opportunity to learn about Muslims and encounter diversity first-hand. We will contribute to dialogue in society and empower Muslims, especially women, with necessary legal and communication skills.

Where will your project idea take place?

north-east and north-west, south-central SVK, where islamophobia is high
cities where Muslims live

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Populist and simplistic discourse about Islam and migration prevails and reinforces prejudices in recent years. Instead of objective information about Muslims, migrants and refugees, negative stereotypes and hoaxes prevail. As “the others” they are often held responsible for economic and social problems associated with security risks, fear and hostility. Muslims and people of different skin color are often victims of attacks, both verbal and physical, women are affected most harshly. This is specifically case in regions where population have almost no direct experience with Muslims. Islamophobia feeds support of extremist and anti-system political parties and undermines democracy. Muslim/migrant communities know little about how to face this challenge with confidence and legal instruments.

Who are you doing it for?

Public events aim for better understanding and improved dialogue between Muslims and general population. They will take place in cities where support of extreme political parties was highest in last election eg. north-east and north-west, south-central Slovakia. Audience will be from various geographical, religious, political groups identified to have most prejudices against Islam. 370 people will gather first-hand experience. 120 individuals from Muslim, refugee and migrant communities will be empowered. There is app 5.000 Muslims in Slovakia in population of 5,5 million citizens. Empowerment will take place where most Muslims live, still reception of diversity remains a challenge. These will include eg. Bratislava, Trnava, Martin, Piešťany, Košice and camps.

How do you plan to get there?

Combination of legal expertise of HRL with direct engagement of Muslim community via IFS will guarantee desired promotion of human rights, tolerance, interfaith dialogue and diversity. Online broadcasting of podcasts represents a modern tool which quickly stimulates discussions and brings new points of view to broader audience. It is important to give voice to Muslims in Slovakia and empower them with knowledge of legal information, communication skills and confidence. IFS, as the only expert Islamic organisation in Slovakia, itself will be able to increase its capacity and influence in the society. Debates will be targeting local population in cooperation with the city administration, local NGOs, activists and schools. Workshops will always introduce a Muslim/refugee guest speaker.

What are the expected results?

120 Muslims, refugees and migrants are provided with needed legal help and information in the language they understand. At least half of them are or will become community leaders, multiplying effects of the empowerment activities. We expect more than half of the overall number to be women, as they are most visible and targeted in hate crime. Interfaith and intercultural dialogue and increased knowledge of Muslim population in Slovakia contribute to formation of public attitudes based on objective information; negative stereotypes are addressed and contrasted with real facts and personal histories. Local authorities, schools and other stakeholders offer cooperation and 370 participants benefit from direct experience from events.

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

We will be targeting Slovaks who know very little about Islam, who have negative stereotypes, but no or little direct experience with Muslims. Public events and workshops at schools will allow them to meet individual Muslims, migrants and refugees, learn about Islamic beliefs, way of life, moral code, Slovak Muslims and their personal stories. Events with religious leaders will strengthen ecumenical process and inter-religious dialogue with active participation of public, in which Christian religion prevails. Direct first-hand experience will actively reduce islamophobia, contribute to stronger social cohesion and tolerance as key values in democratic society. Individual empowerment of Slovak Muslims will invite them to become active and equal members of society with capacity for impact.

Why is this idea important to you?

HRL wishes to strengthen partnership with IFS and Muslim community as such in Slovakia. Often we have developed project activities for them as our clients, but this partnership is built on equality. We offer our expertise to make them stronger and through which they increase their individual capacity of becoming active society members. We strive to bring our knowledge and already tested activities from the capital to regions in Slovakia. This idea is reacting to an increase of Islamophobia and hate crime attacks on our clients - refugees, especially Muslims living in Slovakia. Our mission is to protect the rights, strengthen the status of refugees and foreigners in Slovakia and to promote diversity in society, therefore this project idea is directly related to our mission statement.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

personnel costs 25.336 EUR
office, accountancy, communication costs 7.800 EUR
public events (rental, fees, refreshments, consultants) 10.957 EUR
travel and accommodation costs 2.791 EUR
publicity costs 2.116 EUR
interpretation costs 1.000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Useful advice would be about outreach methods of our public events. Good tips about how to inspire people to participate, especially people with negative perceptions about Islam and how to create a safe environment both for them to express their opinions and for Muslims not to feel intimidated.


Liga za ľudské práva

Islamská nadácia na Slovensku

Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on Aug. 3, 2020

Write comment