Interfaith / Interethnic Coalition-Building To Combat Xenophobia and Religious-Based Discrimination
Europe’s refugee crisis, terrorism, and economic recession are driving prejudice against religious and ethnic minorities and perpetuating xenophobia across the continent. In the “Visegrad” countries of Central Europe – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia increasingly factor in public discourse, linking populist grievance with sectarian intolerance and jeopardizing the well-being of ethnic and religious minorities.
Civic groups focused on individual minority communities need to build crossover alliances to scale up interventions and network with counterparts in Western Europe who have experience in coalition-building and political engagement. If civic groups in Central Europe take collective action, reach out to mainstream audiences, and network across Europe, then they can respond to xenophobia, racism, and ethnic and sectarian discrimination in informed, integrated, and sustainable ways.
To reach that goal, Jewish Association Czulent joined as a partner to the international project „Interfaith / Interethnic Coalition-Building To Combat Xenophobia and Religious-Based Discrimination” realized by National Democratic Institute in countries of the Visegrad Group. The project is taking place between 2016-2018. NDI helps civic leaders to develop the skills, relationships and shared objectives to foster joint action countering ethnic, racial, and religious intolerance and promoting pluralism. They include those representing religious and ethnic minority communities, as well as ainstream organizations working in human rights, multiculturalism, and migrant aid across the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
The Institute imparts skills on interfaith and interethnic advocacy work in across the four countries. With NDI support, participants form coalitions to implement small projects, such as community-based research. Exchanges between organizations promote relationships and foster learning about other minority communities. A regional conference further broadens participant perspectives and skills on cross-minority coalitions, by linking them up with other organizations working on similar goals in other parts of Europe, and by producing a joint analysis of regional trends and gap analysis of primary challenges and areas for intervention.
In 2016 Association took part in a few workshop meeting during which our participants strengthened their soft skills connected to coalition building and communication, broadened their knowledge about anti-discrimination laws in the European Union and it’s member countries. What is more important, we started a cooperation with other minority and majority organizations that are focused on combating discrimination and working for minority groups. Thanks to the actions taken during the project in 2016, we had an opportunity to get in contact with world wide organizations such as OSCE and ENAR.
The culmination part of the project will be the international conference in Kraków in 2017, co-organized by NDI from Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary, as well as Jewish Association Czulent, in partnership with ENAR (European Network Against Racism) and OSCE for the selected group of activists from Visegrad group.
Additionally, in 2017, ENAR – European partner of NDI will organize a study visit to Brussels for chosen activists group. It will allow the participants to exchange their experience, get feedback and guidelines about existing plans of actions as well as trends in UE and other regional institutions while having an opportunity to build coalitions to fight the problem of xenophobia and religious discrimination in Central Europe.
program implemented from 2016 to 2018
National Democratic Insitute,
European Network Against Racism’s.
Jewish Association Czulent,
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor – US Department of State.