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Posted on on August 2nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Under the Patronage of the President of the Republic of Austria – Dr. Heinz Fischer.

With a Honorary Committe that includes Patricia Kahane – President of the Karl Kahane Foundation,  Dr. Michael Hauple – Mayor of Vienna, as well as Former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister  – Dr. Alois Mock, and famous Austrian artists – Andre Heller and Joseph Hader. Also among others, Rabbi Marc Schneier from the US, Rafi Elul from Israel, Ibrahim Issa from Palestine.

The Conference will deal with Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the toning down of media that inflames hatred.

The Conference will avoid  touching upon Middle East Conflict Issues in an effort at reaching first mutual understanding before tackling issues on which there can be built an agreement to disagree – and seeing that there are other points of view.


«Our first step together creating the power to forge a link between possibility and reality.
Because the pronunciation of our names is no barrier for friendships.»

The first ‘Muslim Jewish Conference’ 2010 is being held in Vienna from the 1st until
the 6th of August. 60 students from all over the world with a common goal of
establishing peaceful relations between both religions will participate. The conference
consists of discussion committees, guest speakers, open dialogue panels and social

The idea for this project was born in Vienna by two Austrian students, Ilja Sichrovsky
and Matthias Gattermeier, due to their experiences at international student
conferences and driven by the desire to create cultural awareness between young
aspiring Jewish and Muslim academics.

Today, the ‘MJC’-committee harbours over 20 volunteers from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America, including countries like Austria, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey and the U S. The Assistant Secretary General in charge of the core of 15  volunteers is Ehab Bilal who grew up in Austria, studied in the UK, and is a Muslim of Libyan parentage.

Ilja Sichrovsky, founder and Secretary General of the MJC: “Representing the
University of Vienna at numerous international student conferences, I have
witnessed inevitable misunderstanding and prejudices between young Muslims and
Jews at first hand. The ‘Muslim Jewish Conference’ was called to life, to be the first
step together for young people creating the power to forge a link between possibility
and reality. Because the pronunciation of our names is no barrier for friendships.”

The ‘Muslim Jewish Conference’ is officially endorsed by the ‘United Nations Alliance of Civilisations’ (UNAOC) and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The project is partly financed by the ‘Karl Kahane Foundation’ as well as by private donors.

Our vision is to make the MJC an annual conference, set up in different countries
each year and to provide a platform for real change in the interaction between
Muslim and Jewish Communities.

The participants represent a new generation of thinkers and upcoming opinion leaders who are connected by their joint believe in a new era of cooperation.

Date: 1. – 6.08.2010
Place: Institute for International Development – University of Vienna
c/o Institute for African Sciences – Campus – AAKH, Hof 5.1
A-1090 Wien


The Organisation Committee:

  • Ilja Sichrovsky – Secretary General
  • Ehab Bilal – Assist. Secretary General
  • Matthias Gattermeier – Logistics, Protocol & Security
  • Fatima Hasanain – Committees & Content
  • Asad Farooq – Organization & Registration
  • Florence Rivero – Organization & Design
  • Yvonne Feiger – Logistics & Fundraising
  • Mustafa Jalil Qureshi – Head of chairs
  • Daniel Gallner – Finance
  • Abdul Niazi – Ambassador for the MJC
  • Stefanie Andruchowitz – Head of Department Support
  • Valerie Prassl – Head Public Relations
  • Akshay Ganju – Chair
  • Eyal Raviv – Chair
  • Magdalena Kloss – Chair


When we researched the internet, we found that The Muttahidda Jihad Council (MJC), an alliance of Muslim Kashmiri freedom fighters as they call themselves, or terrorists, as we call them, is what the web knew as MJC before the start of this new Austrian effort. Things get even worse as there are other Abdul Niazi on the web. Whatever, we hope that the Austrian effort grows to become a success and we remember the role Chancellor Kreisky had in starting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations years ago.

Further, Karl Kahane and Bruno Kreisky , with other Kreisky friends, created in 1991 through the Karl Kahane Foundation also the Bruno Kreisky Forum in order to continue the Kreisky’s work on Human Rights, the Middle Eastern Peace Process,  Europe after the Cold War, and other issues close to him – we assume that the powerful ongoing Kreisky Forum had something to do with the organization of this new effort at tackling the Middle East peace process issue from a longer term understanding base.

The involvement of Rabbi Marc Schneier from the US is proof that his three year old  ongoing effort, on which our website reported several times,  of  bringing Jewish and Muslim communities in the US to a closer contact with meetings in homes as well as within religious centers, intended to listen to each others deep concerns rather then professing to shout at each other their frustrations, is part of the concept of the new effort.…

Also, New Generations – Crossing Borders.
In 1994 the Middle East Youth Peace Forum together with the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue started the project New Generations – Crossing Borders. A group of young Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and Austrians met regularly over a period of four years in order to establish personal relations, overcome stereotypes, gain skills in conflict resolution and acquire leadership qualities.

The experiences of the participants were documented in the German/English publication Crossing Borders by Margit Schmidt et al, published by Picus Verlag, Vienna, 1999.

This comes to show that the young may eventually achieve what the older generation was not able to achieve.



Jüdisch-muslimisches Treffen.

Von Alexia Weiss –

Aufzählung Muslim Jewish Conference von 1. bis 6. August in Wien.

Wien. 60 muslimische und jüdische Studierende aus aller Welt treffen von 1. bis 6. August in der Uni Wien bei der “Muslim Jewish Conference” (MJC) zusammen. Das Ziel: eine gemeinsame Sprache zu finden und Vorurteile zu überwinden, sagt MJC-Generalsekretär Ilja Sichrovsky. Der 27-Jährige studiert in Wien “Internationale Entwicklung”.

Sichrovsky hat mehrmals an der “World Model United Nations Conference” teilgenommen, bei der eine Uni-Delegation ein Land verkörpert. Dabei ist der Wiener Jude mit muslimischen Studenten in Kontakt gekommen und musste feststellen, dass die Vorurteile auf beiden Seiten groß sind, man aber vieles im intensiven Gespräch ausräumen kann. “Ich habe gemerkt: Wir sind gar nicht so verschieden, wie es uns Medien und auch unsere Eltern zu vermitteln versucht haben.” So kam ihm 2008 erstmals die Idee für die Konferenz.

Gemeinsames Papier

Organisator ist Ehab Bilal (25). Der bekennende, aber nicht streng praktizierende Moslem kommt aus einer libyschen Familie, wuchs in Wien auf und studierte in England. Seit 9/11 hat er das Gefühl, “dass ich schon ein bisschen unterdrückt werde wegen meiner Religion”. Wenn er reise, werde er drei Mal gefragt, mit welchem Ziel er komme. Ihn ärgert, dass wegen einiger Extremisten die gesamte Religion in Verruf kommt.

Zu drei Themen werden die Studenten im August eine gemeinsame Deklaration veröffentlichen:

“Antisemitismus und Islamophobie” – Sichrovsky betont, dass es sich um eine Aufzählung, nicht um eine Gleichstellung beider Begriffe handelt – sowie die Rolle der Bildung und der Medien im Abbau von gegenseitigen Stereotypen.

Der Nahostkonflikt wird beim ersten Mal bewusst ausgeklammert. Man müsse zuerst eine gemeinsame Sprache finden, bevor man ein Thema angehe, “wo man weiß, dass man anderer Meinung ist”, so Sichrovsky.

Die Konferenz wird großteils von der Karl Kahane Foundation finanziert, Bundespräsident Heinz Fischer übernahm den Ehrenschutz. 120 Studenten hatten sich beworben, die besten wurden ausgewählt. Ihr Spektrum reicht von sehr religiös bis säkular.

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