30 young religious leaders from all over Europe met in Taplow Court, England, on December 2-5, hosted by the Buddhist community of Soko Gokkai UK, for Religions for Peace, European Interfaith Youth Network's Summit and training on "Welcoming the Other - Multireligious Youth Against Religious Extremism". The Summit gathered representatives of 17 EIYN's member organizations, representing Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian faiths; representatives of other organizations from different countries that work with youth and came for the training; as well as UK-based organizations that launched RfP UK Interfaith Youth Network, during the Summit.
The Summit participants took part in training sessions, and listened to lectures on issues such as: radicalism, extremism, dialogue, critical engagement with social media and religious scriptures, religious imperative of welcoming the other. Part of the training was led by Adam Deen - previously a senior member of an extremist religious organization, Al-Muhajiroun, who finally became disillusioned with his extremist beliefs, left the movement and dedicates his work now to countering extremism. Adam talked in details about his process of what “brought him back” to the non-extremist world: 1. personal experience of meeting somebody who was a victim of an extremist attack (9/11 attack). 2. studying philosophical text by famous philosophers, that taught him skills of critical and analytical thinking (that he lacked before. Adam studied with one professor who was a rebel member of the same organization and finally left). Equipped with critical thinking, he was no longer able to follow the extremist logic and saw all the videos he saw before and speeches in a different light, and left the movement.
During the dialogue training with Irene Incerti-Thery, the participants learned and practiced 3 ways to engage in dialogue, and what are the necessary requirements for the dialogue to happen. Irene defined dialogue as a way of communication that enables to understand the other person, or at least enables to acknowledge the other person’s truth. She then asked a question whether dialogue with an extremist is possible and is it needed, and presented ideas how it can be possible, and why it can be needed. During the workshop with Aarne Talvela - young student from Finland who is a co-founder of Youth Against Violent Extremism network - the participants identified different types of extremist movements, discussed characteristics of an extremist, and ways how youth can be agents of prevention against extremist violence. The participants took part also in exersises on critical thinking.
Young leaders who attended the training, will lead workshops based on a model of training they received in Taplow Court in their local towns, in the first 6 months of 2017. If you would like to lead a workshop in your town - please contact us.
Taplow Court’s Summit of EIYN member organizations accepted the Core Group’s plan to register the network as an NGO in Belgium, planned future activities and network’s development. The Summit elected also two new members of EIYN’s executive and leadership group – the Core Group. Current Core Group has 5 members and consist of representatives of different religions and countries. This is a current composition of EIYN’s Core Group:
Mr. Daniel Eror, from Bosnia-Herzegovina – Christian (catholic)
Mr Taoufik Hartit from Germany – Muslim (sufi)
Ms Gabrielle Westhead, from UK – Buddhist
Ms Marie Chabbert , from France – Christian (catholic)
Ms Annika Foltin from Germany– Christian (protestant)
7 youth faith organizations from UK present at the Summit, including Soka Gakkai-UK, Coexister London, Focolare UK, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, National Hindu Student Forum UK, Pandava Sena, UK Students Christian Movement, held two separate meetings during the Summit, during which they assessed the need for the country- based youth interfaith network in UK, and developed a strategic plan with which to move forward with their work for building the UK Interfaith Youth Network. The meetings concluded with launching the network, to unite the religious youth and contribute to coexistence and peace in the UK.
See the clip from our Summit! Young religious leaders, participants of our EIYN Summit that took place 2 weeks ago, speak about how we can prevent radicalization, what is peace, when starts dialogue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH5yrfn-xTU&spfreload=5
The Summit was organized owing to the grant received from the Hibbert Trust, grant from Religions for Peace UK, funds from Religions for Peace International and generous support by the Taplow Court, SIG UK center. Thank you so much!
"We, the youth of different faith groups, are determined to live together in peace and mutual appreciation. We are united in the belief that it is our duty to play a crucial role in overcoming violence and striving for justice. This ideal will only be achieved through interfaith cooperation, which will be facilitated by the establishment of the European Interfaith Youth Network (EIYN)"; Geneva declaration