The Muslim Jewish Conference (hereinafter MJC) has taken place in Sarajevo from 6th to 13th August, with the grand opening taking place on August the 7th in Sarajevo City Hall. More than 100 young leaders from 40 countries attended the conference, aiming to make new friendships, break common stereotypes and encourage cooperation between young Muslims and Jews. The conference shed light on the two biggest problems in the world - islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The conference sent what is perhaps the strongest message on the opening, where the audience was addressed by the member of BiH presidency Bakir Izetbegovic, president of the Jewish Community of BiH Jakob Finci, president of the Islamic Community of BiH Husein ef. Kavazovic, Head of OSCE Mission to BiH ambassador Jonathan Moore, AUBiH’s Esmir Ganic and the founder and general secretary of the MJC Ilja Sichrovsky. Speaking on behalf of the AUBiH, mister Esmir Ganic pointed out the importance of the MJC's work, which gives hope that the two religions that share common roots will continue their coexistence at the Middle East just as they do in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mister Ganic called on all the young leaders to promote peace, respect and better understanding among members of the two religions and emphasized that Jews and Muslims of BiH live with each other, rather than next to each other.
Among the speakers was president of the Jewish Community of BiH Jakob Finci.
“We are pleased with the choice of Sarajevo as a host because it is an ideal city for such a conference. This is a city where Jews have lived for 450 years, and Muslims even longer. The entire period is notable for the peace and unity among the religions, helping each other while nurturing own religion and respecting others. This is a conference where Jews discuss the two most pressing matters in the world today - anti-Semitism and islamophobia. They are two sides of the same coin”, added Finci.
President of the Islamic Community of BiH Husein ef. Kavazovic pointed out that religious communities gather a part of the populace and must continue to send messages of peace, so as to revitalize coexistence and cooperation among peoples.
Cultural and religious attaché in the Jewish Community of BiH Eli Tauber reiterated the importance of the conference and its ultimate goal of helping the communities in addressing a number of pressing matters across the globe. “Importance [of the MJC] is further amplified by participation of young people, those who will be on the helm of this state and society and who will have to take a right stance regarding relations between the two nations and/or religions”, noted Tauber. He added that his role will be to try and put forward and initiative whereby AUBiH will hold presentations to US universities on 500 years of peaceful coexistence of the religions.
Head of OSCE Mission to BiH Jonathan Moore added that OSCE’s sponsorship is a result of the positive role of religious communities of BiH. “Such events show BiH citizens and the entire world that religious communities can indeed coexist, cooperate and share common goals”, said Moore.
Member of BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic said that BiH is both a regional and global example of Muslims and Jews living side by side, acknowledging and respecting their differences while promoting the values that bring them together. “In this time of increasingly aggressive forms of anti-Semitism, islamophobia and other types of xenophobia, religious and cultural intolerance, Muslims and Jews of BiH continue to nurture mutual respect and tolerance”, Izetbegovic concluded.
The conference took place with patronage by member of BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic and with support by Islamic and Jewish Communities of BiH, OSCE and AUBiH.