A groundbreaking conference for young Muslims from across Europe is taking place in Switzerland. Delegates from seven countries have been brought together by the organisation Initiatives of Change, which has a long history of promoting peace on the continent. In the late 1940s, it brokered meetings between those who had been on opposite sides in World War II. Now its headquarters, high above Lake Geneva, is hosting a group of young Muslims for the first time, as they consider how to work as “peace agents” within their communities.
The organisers admit some unease within their own inter-faith peace movement about targeting a conference specifically at Muslims. But conference convener Peter Riddell believes that all those living in Europe need to address tough questions about how Islam relates to their shared future.
“We’re faced with a need to redefine what it means to be European. In many ways you could say that European culture has defined itself in opposition to Islam,” he said. “So now the challenge is, whether we’re going to embrace a European culture which includes a substantial component of Muslims, or whether we’re going to reject that.”
Initiatives of Change: