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Beauty and the beast
Start date: May 4, 2015, End date: Nov 3, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Beauty and the beast" is a 6 month youth exchange project hosted in Ghent, Belgium. During 6 active days 30 participants from the Serbia, Palestine, Turkey, Belgium and Latvia will discuss the topic of islamophobia. Does islamphobia really exist? Or is it a created myth? How can we fight against it? Can we trust the media and does the media have an influence on the society’s opinion? In the past years hate speeches and violent acts towards the Muslim community have been increasing. In the report of the European Network Against Racism, it is mentioned that: "Discrimination against Muslims in Europe is widespread. According to the study covering 26 national reports, Muslims continue to experience discrimination in a range of areas, more specifically in employment, education and access to goods and services." The main question of the project is how to avoid stereotypical generalizations, how to reduce fear and how to strengthen inclusion in our diverse European societies while countering marginalization and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or belief. European Muslims are a diverse mix of ethnicities, religious affiliation, philosophical beliefs, political persuasion, languages and cultural traditions, constituting the second largest religious group of Europe’s multi-faith society. In fact Muslim communities are no different from other communities in their complexity. Discrimination against Muslims can be attributed to islamophobic attitudes, as much as to racist and xenophobic resentments, as these elements are in many cases inextricably intertwined. Project participants will compare what is the society’s attitude towards Muslims in the above mentioned countries through street interviews and videos. Taking media power into their hands they will find out what does the society think and how much do they really know about Muslims. Additionally, in order, to develop their media skills they will write a project blog and press releases, which will be sent to local and regional newspapers to make the project more visible and involve more people in the topic. During the whole week participants will work on terms/topics as „discrimination”, „tolerance”, „islamphobia” ,„human rights”,”freedom of speech” in an interesting and nonformal way - through simulations, theater acts, trying to fit in different roles, discussion etc. They will also have a chance to record a song in a studio, which will be used as a project anthem and published on the internet, to make a choreography for a dance and create their own unique stencil drawing. All of this will be demonstrated in a public event in order to draw people’s attention to this discrimination issue and spread peace among the society.

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