1914-Peace-2014 is an inter-religious and intercultural series of events marking the centennial anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The series kicked off its first event with a lecture by Dr. Fuat Sanac, President of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria, on February 28, 2014.
The Islamic Religious Community in Austria considers itself as a link between government institutions and civil institutions.
Dr. Fuat Sanac, President of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria
The 1914-Peace-2014 series was jointly organized by the Friede-Institut fur Dialog (“Peace Institute for Dialogue”) and the Institut fur Religion und Frieden (“Institute for Religion and Peace”) of the Catholic Military Diocese of Austria. Additional partners included the Vienna-based Forum fur Weltreligionen (“Forum for World Religions”) and the Istanbul-based Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF). The event took place at the Jakob-Kern-House of the Austrian Military Diocese.
Welcome speeches were given by Dr. Harald Tripp, Episcopal Vicar of the Catholic military chaplaincy, and Monsignore Petrus Bsteh, chairman of the Forum for World Religions. Then, Episcopal Vicar Dr. Werner Freistetter, head of the Institute for Religion and Peace, described the intention and motivations behind 1914-Peace-2014. He underlined the importance of dialogue and its contributions to peaceful coexistence.
The President of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria, Dr. Sanac, highlighted in his speech the unique position of Islam in Austria and stressed that overcoming the fear of the ‘other’ is only possible through dialogue and building bridges. Sanac cited his organization as an example of such a bridge, saying, “The Islamic Religious Community in Austria considers itself as a link between government institutions and civil institutions.”
At the end of his lecture, Sanac thanked the event organizers for inviting him to speak. He added, “With all my heart, I wish great success for 1914-Peace-2014. May it be an active contribution toward peaceful coexistence.”
Yasemin Aydin, chairwoman of the Peace Institute for Dialogue and JWF’s Vienna-Main Representative to the UN, summarized the purpose of the event as follows: “The First World War led to immense human suffering in the history of mankind. On the occasion of the centennial anniversary of its outbreak, we want to remind people of this global catastrophe and underline the responsibility of each end every person for peace-building. Along with our partners, we aim to make an active contribution toward peaceful coexistence in society.”
The second event in the 1914-Peace-2014 series is called “From World War I to Contemporary Turkey — Armenian and Kurdish Experiences.” It will be held on March 21, 2014, the International Day of Newroz.