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Slovakian Group about "It's about choice"

Interview of Emma Slobodníková from Slovakia after the Training Course "It's about choice" in Berlin.


Can you give us your opinion about the project “It´s about choice“?

The topic of this project – Islamophobia, has always been one of my main interests and I was really excited to participate in a project that deals with this subject. During the training course, we discussed a lot of problems regarding extremism and discrimination, which are, in my opinion, alarming and important in our society. We had several great group activities, which allowed us to discover different concepts related to this topic, and we also watched many educational videos.

I have to say that Islamophobia is not easy to deal with. It is a complex issue with a lot of aspects and backstories, but we all tried our best to understand at least some of the key points. I really liked our group discussions, during which we discovered how Islamophobia affects the lives of Muslims living in various European countries. Working in international teams allowed us to dive deep into this problem, share our ideas, and gain a lot of new experiences.

Do you think Islamophobia is a threat for our society?

Living in Slovakia, which is a country that is not very open to different religions or ethnicities, I definitely consider Islamophobia as an alarming issue. I think the biggest problem is ignorance and non-sufficient knowledge about Islam. Many people are too influenced by the media, and they do not even try to find out more about this religion in order to understand it correctly. As a result of that, there are many misconceptions regarding Islam and its followers.

The common prejudices often lead to verbal and physical attacks on Muslims, whose lives are affected in a horrible way. In my country, it is really hard for Muslims to find their place in the society. People are too narrow-minded and hateful to tolerate and respect those who follow a different religion, especially Islam, which is very often incorrectly portrayed in the media. Islamophobia is undoubtedly a threat to many innocent people, whose intentions and beliefs are repeatedly misunderstood, and the discrimination that they have to deal with dangerously affects their well-being.

What can be done to combat Islamophobia on community, national or international level? Knowledge is the key – that is why I think educating others about Islam is really important. Many people know nothing about this religion, and they form their opinions only from what they have heard on the TV or read on the Internet. The content shared on these platforms should be controlled by the authorities, to make sure it does not include any misleading information, hate speech, or manipulation.

When it comes to schools, it should be one of the priorities to teach children to be respectful and to treat everyone equally. It might be more challenging when it comes to older people, who already have their own opinions that are sometimes really hard to affect, but organizing workshops or discussions about this topic would definitely help to give them a closer look on this religion and its followers. Erasmus+ projects such as this one are also a great opportunity to meet new people from various countries. Thanks to that, we learn more about different cultures, traditions, or religions - not from the media, but from actual experiences.

Discrimination and attacks that we often witness in public should be strictly punished. We live in the 21st century, and it is unacceptable that some people are still being insulted and mistreated by others just because of a different religion. After all, I believe that it is up to every individual, whether they choose to live in a world full of hatred and inequality, or in a world full of love and kindness in which we respect each other and live together harmoniously without any prejudices.

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