More than 100 young Jewish and Muslim leaders are meeting for the third annual Muslim Jewish Conference (MJC) in Bratislava, Slovakia from 8th-15th of July 2012.
Participants hail from more than 35 countries, from as far afield as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Libya, and the US.
MJC participants seek to develop projects to tackle issues such as Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and misconceptions about the roles of women in Judaism and Islam.
The six themes of the conference are as follows:
1. Women in Religion
2. Faithful Citizenship
3. Sustained Community Dialogue
4. Positive Narratives of Muslim-Jewish History
5. Islamophobia & Anti-Semitism
6. Muslim-Jewish Social and Business Entrepreneurship
MJC participants represent students and young professionals from an array of professional, civic and political fields. Among them include a group of young entrepreneurs who plan to develop joint business ventures and an artists' troupe which will collaborate on an interfaith art exhibit.
Young leaders at the MJC received a formal written greeting from former US President Bill Clinton. "A major focus of my Presidency was the pursuit of peaceful resolutions to ethnic and religious conflictâ¦so it's especially wonderful to see a new generation determined to break down the barriers of ethnicity and religion that too often divide us," Clinton wrote.
The gathering was launched to allow young leaders to bypass community establishments and encourage direct dialogue, according to Ilya Sichrovsky, who founded the Muslim Jewish Conference, an Austria-based nonprofit, three years ago.
Sichrovsky's involvement with the Muslim Jewish Conference began when he attended a summit of the ROI Community, a global network of Jewish innovators created by the Jewish-American philanthropist Lynn Schusterman.
Anna Madnand, a Muslim French teacher, said: "I decided to participate in this conference after one of my Muslim pupils told me he hated all Jews. I was offended. Beyond it, I think this anti- Semitism inevitably goes on to manifest itself in Islamophobia -- the two are interconnected."
The MJC is backed by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations; Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, among others. Governmental support for this year's conference comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both Austria and Slovakia aswell as the City of Bratislava.
The first annual Muslim Jewish Conference took place from the 1-6 August 2010 at the University of Vienna, where 60 Jewish and Muslim students from all over the world conferred with a common goal of establishing peaceful relations between both religions.
The second annual conference took place from 3-8 July 2011 in Kiev, Ukraine.
"100 Jews and Muslims Gather for International Interfaith Conference" US Politics Today July 9, 2012
"Third annual MJC 8th - 13th of July 2012 - Bratislava, Slovakia" MJC News
"Jewish, Muslim student leaders meet to promote direct dialogue" JTA July 9, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today