Conflict resolution and Religion/Beliefs ENORB Seminar

Peace Building in an Age of Rage

Tuesday 12TH MARCH 2019, Holy Trinity Brussels Anglican Church (Rue Capitaine Crespel 29, 1050 BRUSSELS 
register here

The European Network on Religion and Belief will be convening a workshop on religion / belief and conflict resolution. Several peace processes have recently demonstrated the need to inclusively engage religious leaders and faith-based actors with a focus on inclusion of all — including minorities and local communities — in official negotiations to reach political settlement to conflicts.

The presence of religion in societies is a permanent reality that has far-reaching impact and influence. Whilst there exists some concerns about religion as a cause of conflicts, the reality is often much more complex with other underlining factors and the conflation of issues. Religions can play a complementary social and political role. Religious actors also shoulder responsibilities to help avert conflicts whether inter-religious, armed conflicts, hostilities and in post-war realities such as rebuilding society and fostering harmony and reconciliation between communities.

This is particularly the case for conflicts in which religious dynamics have co-shaped and driven the course of conflict and contributed towards its imperviousness to resolution. In such conflicts, religious actors and communities often feel that they have interests at stake in political negotiations related to the peace processes, and, if excluded, may subsequently disrupt and spoil official negotiations.

It is against this backdrop that ENORB is convening this timely workshop, engaging academics and practitioners alike to share and exchange diverse experiences in an inclusive discussion. [1] The workshop aims to inform future peace negotiations to encourage more thoughtful, effective engagement of religious leaders and faith based-actors.

The workshop will include facilitated conversations on the roles of religious actors in formal and informal peace processes, with an emphasis on the vital input of local communities and religious/ethnic minorities.


10:00                         Arrival, registration, coffee

10:30                          Introduction on Religion and Conflict Resolution — Salpy Eskidjan, WCC Religious Track.

11:00- 12.30              Panel 1: Peace-building and religion / belief: experiences and lessons learned

  • Olivia Caeymaex, Peace Programme Lead, Quaker Council for European Affairs — Quakers manual on peace-building and the gender approach
  • Michael Hansmann, Director-Brot für die Welt — Role of faith-based actors on humanitarian aids and advocacy in EU
  • Alice Kooij Martinez, Senior Advocacy Officer-Pax Christi International — Conflict resolution and peace-building – Pax Christi approach

12.30-13.30               Lunch break

13.30-14.30              Workshops/ Case Studies:

  • Northern Ireland Facilitator: Barbara Walshe, Chair-Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
  • Balkans Facilitator: Dr Abdullah Faliq, Managing Director, The Cordoba Foundation; ENORB Board Member
  • Cyprus Facilitator: Salpy Eskidjan, WCC Religious Track

14.30-16:00              Panel: Peace in the Age of Rage

  • Speakers tbc

16:00-17:00              Conclusion / Networking & Coffee

Call for application : Consultant for a Organisational Development Plan

ENORB is recruiting a consultant for a short-term mission.

The consultant will have to develop an organisational development plan in order to help the organisation in it professionalisation journey. The objective will be to guide ENORB to:

  • deliver better services to its network and partner
  • build the core work of the professional team
  • implement processes and procedures
  • build its capacity

This Needs Assessment audit of ENORB’s organisational development, with the involvement of officers, board and selected members, facilitated by an expert specialising in equalities and anti-discrimination work, would include meetings with key players and members, leading to a joint meeting to feed back initial findings and develop an organisational development plan before the fall.

Candidate profile :

  • Previous experience on strategical plan
  • Good communication and writing skills
  • Fluency in English
  • Ability to write clear and concise report
  • Familiar with EU Anti-discrimination narrative
  • Preferably based in Brussels or comfortable and efficient working from a distance

What we offer:

The mission will be paid 3000€ VTA included. We also provide office space near Brussels North station. ENORB is strongly committed to offer equal opportunity for all and seek to foster culture of diversity in term of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and ability in the workplace.


To apply, please sent a resume and a cover letter (one document) to by 21 February 2019.

Only selected candidates will be contacted.




Secure institutional recognition and mandate to tackle Islamophobia effectively

December 2018


Islamophobia (anti-Muslim racism/anti-Muslim hatred) is a specific form of racism that refers to acts of violence and discrimination, as well as racist speech, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping and leading to exclusion and dehumanisation of Muslims, and all those perceived as such. Many manifestations of Islamophobia are structural in their nature, in the sense that discriminatory patterns against Muslims are embedded in policies, laws and practices of institutional or private bodies.

We welcome the high-level conference on tackling intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in the EU organised by the European Commission and the opportunity to tackle the issue comprehensively, while recognising civil society stakeholders as key partners with unique expertise. While there has been recognition of the issue at European Union level, obstacles remain as evidenced by the Fundamental Rights Agency’s report on Muslims and by the European Islamophobia report (2017). European institutions and EU Member

States need to strengthen and secure their mandate and actions to tackle Islamophobia, especially in these times of political transition.

As civil society, we have highlighted the following objectives that can be reached through specific actions, in close consultation, cooperation and full transparency with civil society experts. These are addressed to Member States and the European Institutions.


  1. Tackle the structural manifestations of Islamophobia by adopting measures in key policy areas
  • Support the adoption or improvement of national policies against racism, such as National Action Plans against Racism, with specific measures or strategies to counter Islamophobia, including measures to tackle intersectional discrimination targeting Muslim women (on the model of the Barcelona action plan against Islamophobia);
  • Adopt guidelines to implement an intersectional approach to religious dress restrictions by recognising these restrictions mostly target Muslim women and are against full gender equality. These guidelines could promote non-discriminatory approaches to enable full inclusion of all Muslim women in all areas of life. Assessment of existing legislation should be done taking into account this approach;
  • Develop and promote harmonisation of data collection in areas of hate crime and equality, recognising anti-Muslim bias as a category. These data should be disaggregated by multiple grounds of discrimination, including gender, race, ethnicity and religion.
  • Assess and acknowledge the discriminatory impact of counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism measures and ensure that counter-terrorism measures comply with fundamental rights safeguards, especially when implementing the recently adopted EU counter-terrorism Directive.
  1. Secure safe and decent working conditions for civil society working against Islamophobia
  • Refrain from participating in/supporting often-unfounded accusations against civil society organisations working against Islamophobia. These are clear manifestations of the generalised suspicion towards Muslims in Europe. Civil society organisations in Europe are key democratic stakeholders which ensure that all communities are heard and empowered and hold governments accountable. However, civil society organisations working against Islamophobia are often severely delegitimised and may have their reputation, resources and integrity threatened.
  • Develop and strengthen funding programmes enabling civil society working against Islamophobia to develop long-term projects for capacity building, advocacy for equality, strategic litigation, educational programmes, etc. This should be included in the current EU budget negotiations. Facilitating access to these funds is also crucial to allow civil society to benefit from them.
  1. Consolidate the mandate of the European institutions to keep Islamophobia high on the agenda
  • Publish an outcome document following the high-level meeting on combating anti-Muslim hatred, highlighting the main gaps in equality of outcomes for Muslims in the EU and exploring ways forward for Member States to address these gaps. The document could also include main relevant policy areas, existing EU laws or policy initiatives, international standards and examples of promising practices by Member States. This would help gather in one document all existing work and standards, as well as main issues, and would act as a roadmap for European Commission officials when interacting with Member State representatives;
  • Based on this document and existing research and recommendations, develop a list of actions on combatting Islamophobia with concrete objectives and targets;
  • Organise a good practice exchange seminar (on the model of the Greek event on multiple discrimination and intersectionality) or an EU Presidency conference (on the model of Austrian Presidency’s conference on antigypsyism) for Member States to follow-up on sharing and implementing actions in this field;
  • Include combating anti-Muslim hatred as a priority in forthcoming communications related to tackling racism and the future of the EU high-level group on combating racism and related intolerance;
  • Secure the position of the EU coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred as long as it does not replace strong political will, actions and effective policies. Clarity about the role should be ensured by a clear mandate and transparent communication and consultation process.

1: European Network Against Racism, European Network on Religion and Belief, European Forum of Muslim Women, Collective against Islamophobia in Belgium, Lallab, Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations and others (full list available here)

Women’s rights, Gender and Religion

Save the date

4th October 2018,

Holy Trinity Church, Rue Capitaine Crespel 29, 1050 Brussels


The European Network on Religion and Belief, as an EU Anti-Discrimination Network, promotes EU fundamental rights, equality and combats discrimination and hate crime on any grounds. This seminar will thus seek to engage all religion and belief systems in tackling discrimination and developing progressive narratives in the specific fields of women’s rights and gender.


The increase in hate crimes and violent speech, targeting, women, religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT minorities has been building over several years, but is now becoming almost normalised online and offline, also legitimised by hate speech from representatives of government and political parties in some parts of Europe.

Recent political campaigns and legislative discussions in some member states, based on misogynist and xenophobic narratives rooted in the male-dominated past, have empowered hate mongers to feel they have the right to express  racist and sexist views more and more openly, sometime turning the words into violent actions.

The religious right has contributed to this context by promoting a version of “traditional values” based on traditions of patriarchy, and repressive regulation of freedom and sexual and reproductive rights, which have the effect of legitimising the real and symbolic violence against women, as well as LGBT, ethnic, religious and other minorities.


The seminar will follow up themes developed in the 2017 exploratory European seminar co-organised with EWL (European Women Lobby) which first addressed these challenges and sought to build positive narratives around religion, belief and gender. It will also draw on the experience gained through the  ENORB/ILGA programme of seminars in member states on religion and LGBT+ rights, and a previous ENORB seminar on countering far right extremism.

The seminar will consist of sessions on women in positions of leadership; on violence against women and the valuable inputs from religion to prevent it; on the manufactured gender wars derived from false concepts of ’traditional values’; and on the search for intersectional feminisms among women from ethnic and religious minorities. 

Keynote speeches and round tables will give participants a unique opportunity to discuss challenges, develop positive narratives and explore best practice in the struggle for justice for women and minorities.




9.30 Welcome speech

Kahina Rabahi, ENORB 


10.00 Current priorities for Women’s Rights and Religion in Europe

Heidi Rautionmaa, on feminist theology and women leadership- Faiths without Borders,

Elisa Van Ruiten, on violence against women and religion-, Human rights without frontiers,

Federica Sona, on reproductive rights in Islam – Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 


12.00 LUNCH


13.00 The Specific Issues faced by Women from Religious/Ethnics Minorities : The need for intersectionality

Julie Pascoët, on an intersectional anti-racist movement –European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

Perspectives from different religious groups:   

Hajar Eljahidi, on islamophobia in patriarchy-European Forum of Organisations of Muslim Women (EFOMW)      

Mejindarpal Kaur, on specific challenges faced by Sikhs women – United Sikhs

Estelle Cincinatis, on anti-semitism and patriarchy in Europe, European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC)

Malati devi dasi, on Hindu women challenges and solutions, ISKCON Radhadesh Belgium

15.00 Tea-coffee break         


15.15 Debunking and challenging the conflict between gender and sexual minorities and religion

Najwa Ouguerram, on homonationalism, Centre for Intersectional Justice (CIJ)

Florin Buhuceanu, on using religious tools and narratives for Human Rights of minorities -Euroregional center for public initiatives (ECPI)


17.15 Closing speech, religion a powerful tool toward liberation

Malika Hamidi, on lessons learned from Islamic feminism for social justice movements, author, Doctor in Sociology

News from CEJI | social cohesion in the EU | Jewish Museum


CEJI’s latest newsletter is just out.  It includes Facing Facts! Hate Crime Monitoring Guidelines available in 8 languages, Sign up for a Religious Diversity Workshop or Course and the item below.

A wake-up call on antisemitism

News of the shocking and tragic events of the May 24th shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels will have escaped no one. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We have serious concerns regarding the backdrop to this hate crime: the recent European parliament elections saw 77 new MEPs from xenophobic parties, up 50% from five years ago. The attack was a stark and symbolic reminder of what is at stake for social cohesion in the European Union project. Read CEJI’s letter and quotes in The Guardian, JTA, Panorama, Jewish News UK, Jewish Daily Forward, Cleveland Jewish News and on the CEJI website.

Members of ENORB visited the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Wednesday 18 June after the Annual Meeting – news of this will be posted on the blog.