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We talk to each other, not about each other: The Muslim Jewish Conference in Berlin

24.08.2015 - Article

The 6th Muslim Jewish Conference, launched in 2010, was held in Berlin for the first time under the patronage of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Participants in the 6th Muslim Jewish Conference at the Federal Foreign Office
Participants in the 6th Muslim Jewish Conference at the Federal Foreign Office© D. Shaked, MJC

“We talk to each other, not about each other.” That is the motto of the Muslim Jewish Conference, which was opened at the Federal Foreign Office on 17 August 2015.

The 6th Muslim Jewish Conference, which was launched in 2010 and is based in Vienna, has been held in Berlin for the first time, under the patronage of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Direct dialogue and personal encounters

Over the course of six days, more than 150 young people from more than 40 countries, the majority of them from a Jewish or Muslim background, discussed issues like anti‑Semitism and Islamophobia, the Middle East conflict and religious gender perspectives and came up with ideas for joint projects. The organisers aim to foster direct dialogue through personal encounters, to build up networks and thus to help dismantle mutual prejudices.

State Secretary Stephan Steinlein and the Secretary General of the Muslim Jewish Conference, Ilja Sichrovsky (left)
State Secretary Stephan Steinlein and the Secretary General of the Muslim Jewish Conference, Ilja Sichrovsky (left)© D. Shaked, MJC

Opening the conference, State Secretary Stephan Steinlein emphasised the need to actively tackle racism, Islamophobia and anti‑Semitism.

He praised participants’ readiness to enter into dialogue: “It requires courage to discuss topics of such an explosive nature face to face. Courage to engage in debate, courage to grapple with other opinions. The very fact that you are listening to each other and taking this opportunity to see the world from the perspective of the other is an example of tolerance in action.”

Federal Foreign Office supports intercultural dialogue

Promoting intercultural understanding is a central pillar of German foreign policy. Strengthening young people’s intercultural competence, for instance through exchange programmes such as CrossCulture internships or intercultural media projects like the internet portal www.qantara.de, is a key aspect of the intercultural dialogue supported by the Federal Foreign Office.

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