Cut the Prejudice | 2016

“To have the interreligious dialogue today is mainly important for keeping peaceful coexistence between different people within one single society. And society of today’s Europe, of today’s world tends to be a globalised society when people are meeting, people are moving. And this process of globalisation of society probably comes much more faster, much more quickly than the human’s’ perception of the society can be developed” says Ivan Kuks, participant in the training course “Cut the Prejudice!”.

From 11th to 17th April 2016, 14 young people from different cultural, religious and geographic backgrounds gathered for the training course “Cut the Prejudice! Different religious traditions through the lens of a camera”, which took place in Berlin, Germany.

The training course aimed at giving a personalised outlook to different religious traditions to prevent conflicts and tensions in the society. A statement against religious prejudices and fundamentalism was made by bringing together young adults from all over Europe to share and discuss their own experiences of being a religious person in society, including the perception of the concept of society and one’s own rights and responsibilities.

The essence of the meeting was to explore religion and its role in one’s personal identity, as well as how those are linked to one’s concept and role in society. By analysing the composing layers of their “identity onion” and presenting their faith traditions to the group, the participants discovered that the concepts of love, peace building, community, care about people and care about creation are shared regardless of the religious or cultural background.
To further enhance the learning process and exploration of the various traditions three field visits were made to different religious institutions in Berlin – to a protestant monk, an Islamic youth group and a Jewish Rabbi. This way the group had the possibility to discuss with representatives of different religious traditions on an equal footing and ask challenging questions in an open atmosphere.
To help the participants to arrive to the final envisioned outcome of the training course – a filmed material discussing why it is important to cut the prejudice, three experts were invited.

Mr. Collins Labatt (Protestant Church in Germany) helped to understand better the importance of social inclusion and explored the ways how it can be made real through interactive presentations and sharing his personal experience of being a migrant in Germany.

To distill the experiences and discussions into a story, a youth worker and performance artist Mr. Rares Craiut (European Confederation of Youth Clubs), presented the tool of storytelling. The participants were given time and space to write their personal experiences into a story to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and social inclusion that they would want to share in their video stories.

The filmmaker Mr. Thomas Bernecker, who accompanied the group during the week with his camera, offered the tips for preparing and filming a story, including behavior in front of a camera. Then he guided each of the participants through filming their envisaged story step by step, involving all the participants in the technical processes. This gave the participants a possibility to gain the experience from the both sides of the camera. Some of the works were already presented during the final evening and will be soon available online!

The project was supported by the Council of Europe, Otto per Mille.