In the course of the last month representatives of FUNCI attended two important meetings: first, the workshop on hate crimes run by ODHIR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) in cooperation with Casa Árabe, which also offered its facilities in Madrid to house this two-days workshop on 7th and 8th May. The workshop was aimed at civil society organisations involved in the fight against discrimination and intolerance towards Muslims in Spain. It main focus lied on enhanced comprehension and thus the detection of hate crimes as well as possible mechanisms and strategies to combat them. A significant part of the workshop was the exchange of experiences and learning processes among the participants also as a way to encourage collaboration and networking. Both Casa Árabe and ODIHR have been carrying out lines of work around research, dissemination and awareness on intolerance against Muslims such as the Programme “Musulmanes de Occidente” (Muslims of the West) or the recently published study titled “La Islamofobia a debate” (A Debate on Islamophobia) both of Casa Árabe, and on the part of ODIHR, TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System), a tool that allows to share and promote initiatives and practices, access legal information and statistics and provide information on issues related to tolerance non-discrimination. For its part, FUNCI since its establishment has carried out a substantial amount of projects designed to eradicate racism against Muslims and to promote intercultural dialogue, always on the basis of knowledge and cultural dissemination, the most important of which are the exhibition “Islam, Universal Heritage” the Manifesto against Islamophobia and the talks and lectures on Islam’s image in the media and the general perception in the West. Furthermore, FUNCI’s Med-O-Med Programme, takes these premises as starting point for all its interventions.
13th Assembly of the Spanish Network of the ALF
Secondly, Casa Árabe also hosted last 18th May the widely attended 13th Assembly of the Spanish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation, the most important socio-cultural network along the Mediterranean axis. Among the many statements we should underline several contributions. Juan José Escobar, Ambassador in Special Mission for Mediterranean Affairs who briefly described the current situation of the Spanish and European politics in relation to the current political movements in the Arab countries and the Union for the Mediterranean. Gianluca Solera, Network Coordinator at the Anna Lindh Foundation, presented the main work outlines for the triennium 2012-2014 while placing emphasis on the “4D” strategy – intercultural dialogue as civil society mobilisation factor, aimed at valuing diversity, promoting the participation of the society in building open democracies as well as inclusive and sustainable development. In addition, he noted the importance of concluding smooth relations based on dialogue with individuals and Islamic-based organisations, in view of the significant uprisings in the Arab-Mediterranean societies, and, on the other side, with European protest movements such as 15M in Spain, “aganaktisménon” (indignants) in Greece, etc. In this regard, we endorse at FUNCI the range of actions on dialogue that the Anna Lindh Foundation is currently preparing. After the lunch break, IEMed, which is the national coordinator of the Spanish Network, along with members of its Executive Committee, presented the latest advances in the Network and the joint action with the Moroccan Network to be launched on dialogue among youth. Lastly, Elena González, Associate Cultural Programmes at Casa Árabe, gave a complete guided tour through the exhibition Jameel Prize 2011 – on display until 15th July – which brings together the ten finalist pieces of this prestigious award about Islamic art and culture. More information and minutes of the 13th Assembly available at the website of the Spanish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation