“The plurality of religions and beliefs in a single country does not constitute a problem in
itself. We have to find what is common in the different religions compatible with the spirit
and principle of human rights.”
-Ahmed Karoud, Director, Mediterranean Forum for Memory, Tunisia
July 27-29, 2021
This workshop is open only to members of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
For the agenda in English, click here.
To view the highlights from Workshop 2, click here.
To view the Community Engagement Grants, click here.
Violent conflict is often expressed in religious terms and religious discrimination has been on the rise over the past decade affecting every religious group. From the persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar and the Kurds in Iraq to Christians in Syria, Jews in Argentina, and Muslims in Nigeria, Europe, and the United States, religious minorities are victims of discrimination on every continent.
While religious doctrines, traditions, and norms can be a powerful force in encouraging and justifying discrimination and legitimizing violence, the underlying causes (the root causes) of Faith or Religious Belief (FoRB) violations or tensions have less to do with theological differences than with economic, socio-cultural, and political factors and with how societies memorialize the past.
Work carried out by Sites of Conscience around the world has also shown that in many contexts, religious belief and faith-based actors are playing a positive role in peacebuilding, social cohesion, and conflict prevention by encouraging peaceful co-existence and tolerance and by influencing transitional justice processes.
To explore these intricacies and identify proactive strategies to address them, from July 27-29, 2021 the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (the Coalition) held “Embracing Religious Diversity,” the second of three global workshops that comprised our 2021 Global Summit, “Building Global Capacity for Inclusive Democracies,” designed to support peer-to-peer learning, capacity building and project collaboration in promoting inclusivity and democratic values in our communities.
Workshop participants engaged in the following sessions:
Interactive session on the multiple factors creating conditions for Faith or Religious Belief discrimination and violence today and how communities can combat violations of freedom of Faith of Religious Belief and partner with Faith Actors to foster peaceful and inclusive societies.
Training on dialogue as a tool for engaging community members in cross-cultural, religious, inter-faith, and inter-generational participatory programs, laying the groundwork for advocacy initiatives that foster social cohesion and lasting peace.
Training of trainers on how to develop comic books pertaining to Freedom of Faith and Religious diversity and inclusion.
Community Engagement Grants:
Inter-Religious Understanding Through Graphic Arts
Building on discussions held, lessons learned and skills gained from the “Embracing Religious Diversity” global workshop, ten selected Sites of Conscience worked with youth and religious and faith-based actors in their communities to create comic books, and implement community engagement activities pertaining to freedom of faith and religious diversity and inclusion and to raise awareness and/or enhance the participation of faith-based actors in transitional justice initiatives.
These ten community engagement grants – collectively entitled, “Inter-Religious Understanding Through Graphic Arts” – provided ten selected members with financial and technical support to engage youth and religious and faith-based actors in their communities in the development of two-three comic books and the implementation of two community engagement activities pertaining to freedom of faith and religious diversity and inclusion and strengthening transitional justice processes, particularly truth, justice and reconciliation goals. Funding included $750 for the development of the comic books and $2100 for the development of the community engagement activities.
To view the completed comic books, please click here.