Retrospect: Interfaith Dialogue Forum in Vienna

by PARTES

On 15 May, PARTES hosted an Interfaith Dialogue Forum in Vienna to discuss participatory approaches to the protection of places of worship and cultural heritage. DialoguePerspectives participated and engaged in in-depth discussions on polarisation and the causes of extremism. The focus was on extremist rhetoric and threats of violence against places of worship and cultural heritage, as well as dialogue formats in different contexts. Preventive measures and the importance of appropriate responses were addressed. Religious communities, institutions and dialogue formats are often victims of violence and extremist attacks, which severely hamper our work. As a result, a valuable exchange took place between communities, associations and institutions, where existing expertise in dealing with extremist and polarising views and threats was shared. The need for adequate resources to develop preventive measures and effectively counter extremism was highlighted.
Participants stressed the need for special protection and inclusion of religious communities and dialogue formats in preventive measures, as they are often targets of extremist violence. The role of religious communities and society in countering extremism was intensively discussed. Religious communities can play a key role in prevention by spreading positive messages of tolerance and cohesion, while addressing and tackling resentments within their own ranks. Successful examples from religious and civil society contexts show how effective community-based prevention can be. These approaches show that despite the threat of extremism, significant progress is possible. Finally, participants called for political support and necessary changes to promote effective measures against extremism and to ensure the protection of religious communities and dialogue formats.

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As an academic studying religious pluralism, I experienced a very warm and welcoming environment in the DialoguePerspectives programme. I learned a great deal from open-minded people from so many diverse backgrounds. DialoguePerspectives is truly pluralism in practice!

Fatima, DialoguePerspectives participant

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