The Meeting Association from Germany is trying to unite Jews, Muslims and Christians

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The German association “Meeting” has long been trying to unite Jews, Muslims and Christians, reports the German television channel tagesschau. The war in the Middle East prevents many people of different nationalities and religious denominations from empathizing with each other. The main idea of ​​the association is for people to remember the past and positively influence the present. The Association strives to provide people of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths with the opportunity to communicate with each other and study history together. “We want to give people experiences that will help them confront anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of xenophobia,” says executive director Catarina Arditi. It all started in 2018 with a trip by young Muslims, mostly refugees, and young people from Jewish communities to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial. “The main idea was to counter accusations that refugees from Muslim countries are importing anti-Semitism,” explains Arditi. The proposal was primarily aimed at Muslims who had no opportunity to learn about Judaism and Germany’s National Socialist past in their homeland. After the first successful study tour, another visit took place in 2019 with the participation of the then Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet. The Prime Minister approved of this idea and agreed to finance the project. In addition to the two or three annual trips to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial, there are other projects such as work with young offenders at the SEA court Bielefeld-Senne, as well as educational trips to Andalusia and Morocco. Two or three times a year, the Vstrecha association travels with a group to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The war in the Middle East gave the trade union a completely new meaning. According to Arditi, there was a sense of tension ahead of the upcoming trip to Auschwitz. There were a lot of fights and sometimes tears. “Already at the preparatory seminar you can see how interested the participants are. Diversity of perspectives creates space for exchange. It all starts with established points of view that contradict each other. Everyone is trying to defend their position. But eventually the flame died out and they listened to each other. There were arguments about the assessment of the current situation, full of emotions, as well as heated discussions, but, nevertheless, they were respectful,” said Catarina Arditi. The seminarians themselves understood that the discussion was not aimed at defending their own point of view, but at understanding opposing opinions and revising their own point of view.

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