At Muslim-Jewish Conference in Sarajevo, WJC-Jewish Diplomats find world of trust and respect
Fri, 18 Aug 2017
SARAJEVO - The World Jewish Congress sent a delegation of two Brazilian members of the WJC-Jewish Diplomatic Corps to take part in the Muslim-Jewish Conference (MJC) in Sarajevo August 6-13. The conference in the heart of the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)was attended by more than 100 participants (50 Jews and 50 Muslims) from 40 countries.
The president of the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jakob Finci, said in an address at the opening ceremony in the Sarajevo City Hall, “We are pleased with the choice of Sarajevo as a host because it is an ideal city for such a conference. This is a city where Jews have lived for 450 years, and Muslims even longer. The entire period is notable for the peace and unity among the religions, helping each other while nurturing own religion and respecting others. This is a conference where Jews discuss the two most pressing matters in the world today - anti-Semitism and islamophobia. They are two sides of the same coin.”
WJC-Jewish Diplomat Fabio Milman, of Brasilia, Brazil, noted following the conference that “space was provided for meeting people and fostering relationships,” and hearing powerful personal accounts from people one might not ordinarily meet. Milman also reflected on the visit to the of the Srebrenica massacre, saying, “I have never been to a place like this before in my life. Never wanted to visit any concentration camp or anything similar. It was so hard. I am still in pain actually. And there at this horrible place, we cried and prayed and supported each other."
Fabio Szperling, a WJC Jewish Diplomat from Sao Paolo, Brazil left the conference with takeaway that, “in a space of trust and respect, people could expose their emotions, perceptions and ideas, breaking paradigms, prejudices and stereotypes.”
“On Friday, Shabbat and Jummah were celebrated with respect, peace and unity among all. In this intense and meaningful meeting, there is a reflection spoken by one of the participants: “We are all minorities in the places we come from but here together we were in the amazing and vibrant majority!”,” said Szperling. “We are clear that we are not going to change the world, but we are sure that with goodwill and open heart it is very possible to live in harmony. These 100 people are proof of this."
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