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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, BRUSSELS – IOPHR organized a conference at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Tunne Kelam, to discuss issues of extremism within the context of religion in our democratic society. The panel consisted of academics, MEPs and activists, who put forth years of research into the roots of extremism, in order to uncover the true source of this issue. The purpose of the conference was to understand how and why an extremist school of thought originated, and how it started being perceived within the envelope of the religion of Islam, thus creating two versions of the same religion since the time of its apparition. The researchers provided evidence to discredit several misconceptions about Islam that might be creating ignorance within society. Their findings helped to demarcate extremism, away from any religious or cultural connotations.

The conference incorporated cultural elements to support the vision of inclusivity and working together as a community to counteract social issues. An art exhibit titled ‘An Ocean of Drops’, helped reinstate the message of social harmony. The music group Soveida gave a short concert, followed by recitation of poems by famous poets like Rumi and Saadi, that helped highlight the importance of unity within our multi-cultural society. The art and musical aspects helped shed light on why we need to work together to counter the threats faced by our society, and find strength in our differences.

The highlights from the panel can be viewed here: