Rethinking Islam, the biggest event about Islam in Poland was achieved by collaborating with Anna Wilczynska, Karol Wilczynski of Salam Lab, and Dr. Karolina Czerska-Shaw. The event took place between 16th-18th May 2019 at the Instytut Psychologii UJ. The event included expert discussions and workshops with academics, civil society, and professionals, emphasising Muslim voices from all these spheres.
The event aimed to facilitate integration and create awareness about cultural diversity in Kraków, Poland. Some topics addressed were - Who are Muslims? What are their beliefs and values? How can we reduce Islamophobia? What are the challenges associated with Muslim migration to Poland? Who are Muslim fundamentalists? How can we increase tolerance towards Muslims?
Researchers from Poland and abroad presented their research and discussed Islam, a topic that is burdened with complexity and contestation. The last panel discussion included a debate on the representations of Islam and refugees in the media with journalists. Also, a series of workshops were conducted for children and adults. They focused on different forms of Islam through art, calligraphy, story-telling, and personal narratives. Other workshops tackled issues like Islamophobia, interfaith dialogue, and tolerance education.
In addition to the main events, we collaborated with Kino Pod Baranamiand organised a screening of the movie "Where Do We Go Now?" by Nadine Labaki. We also organised an Iftar at Spółdzielnia Ogniwo. This is the first meal Muslims eat on breaking their fast during Ramadan.
This event was a game-changer because we saw how people are open to integration with different communities. Polish folks and foreigners together sharing a meal, learning calligraphy, and engaging in meaningful discussions, is the crux of reducing prejudice and stereotyping and building solidarity.
One of the biggest reasons for anti-refugee sentiment is Islamophobia, but the more we learn about Islam, the better we can understand and #RethinkRefugees together.
And a huge thanks to Serena Modolo for creating beautiful handmade stained glass souvenirs.