The Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites – from vision to action
The pilot-projects are based on a set of principles and guidelines from the Code. The political and religious context decides what kind of methods that is preferred and which partners to involve.
The most important activity in our first pilot-project in Bosnia Herzegovina, was the facilitation of religious leader’s joint public condemnations of attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues. The foundation for conveying such joint condemnations by local religious leaders, was laid by the development of a database of attacks based on the systematic reporting of attacks on holy sites. These condemnations also led to an awareness-raising of the seriousness of such hate crimes.
Focus on youth and media
In the current pilot-project in Israel and Palestine, the principles of the Code is used as a foundation to promote inter-religious cooperation concerning faith communities’ holy sites. Conflicting parties are gathered to discuss issues of mutual respect and knowledge about other religious communities. This pilot project has in particular focused on youth and young adults. The work of promoting mutual respect for other believers’ holy sites will be done in high schools in the area.
A new project in Indonesia was recently started. The goal of this project is to increase the knowledge about holy sites, and to highlight the importance of people’s access to their holy sites. This project will be using new media-technology to reach broad sections of the public.
Conflicts concerning faith communities’ holy sites
The main purpose of the Code is to use it as a tool for initiating cooperation and reconciliation between ethnic and religious groups. The Code provides solid foundation for improving the relationship and cooperation between local actors working for protecting holy sites. However, the long term goal is to institutionalize the cooperation between religious leaders, transferring the responsibility to local and national institutions.