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Discussion on: Planning Tech Events with Religious and Cultural Calendar Sensitivity

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Ben Greenberg Author • Edited on

This is a helpful comment, Adrian, thank you. So if I understand you correctly, you made some of your comments because you were feeling offended, hurt and/or insulted by how I depicted a pervasive European perspective on religious diversity nowadays and you wished to express that hurt?

What I wrote about what I experienced to be a dominant European perspective, you opened your first comment by expressing your full agreement with it:

"As a European, I totally agree with the point of it being a personal choice and you have to take into account the things you are going to lose when deciding which religion to follow"

It seems to me then that you are in agreement with that depiction, but you do not like how I characterize it? You see it as a positive, and I see it as a negative. Do you think our personal life experiences combined with our familial and collective experiences shape the ways we perceive this perspective?

When I was working in interfaith work, I was invited to partake in a joint Jewish, Muslim and Christian dialogue in Aix-en-Provence. I will never forget the young Muslim Parisian woman who broke down crying describing how she feels like an outcast in French society because of the policy of Laïcité. Two years ago I visited a Syrian refugee camp outside of Berlin and heard similar sentiments of estrangement, alienation and rejection.

I, personally, have been yelled and cursed at on the streets in Brussels and Athens within the past few months.

For people who see their religious, cultural or ethnic heritage as intrinsic to who they are can you see how telling them to treat it like their most private body part, as in to hide it and only take it out in the most private of settings, can be seen as the very opposite of diversity and inclusivity?

More broadly, perhaps we can both agree that each person wears different shoes and sees the world through different eyes and experiences society in different bodies. Our own personal experiences can shape how we see the same pervasive perspective in such different ways. I would argue that it is on the onus of the majority culture in a society to work harder to see through the eyes, and the embodied experiences of its minorities. On that last point, I hope we can both agree.

Have a good night.