The Interfaith Council for the City of Graz
The Interfaith Council for the City of Graz was established in 2006 and consists of representatives of religious communities recognised by the government. As a consultative body, it is convened by the mayor and formulates common positions on essential dialogue issues concerning peaceful coexistence when needed.
The Interfaith Council has its main office at the Afro-Asian Institute Graz and Lisa Weichsler is responsible for its coordination. The members of the Interfaith Council are high-ranking representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church, Protestant Church, Evangelical Methodist Church, Greek Orthodox Church as well as Coptic Orthodox Church, Islamic Religious Community, Austrian Buddhist Union, Jewish Community Graz, the Bahá’í Community, Alevi Community Austria and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
The aim of the Interfaith Council is to bring shared issues of the religious communities to the attention of the City of Graz as well as being an advisory, networking and mediation institution.
The Interfaith Council has a purely advisory role and is no working body. Therefore, it has no statutes, by-laws, president, budget, or fixed agenda. The Interfaith Council plans annual community projects, e.g. an interfaith contribution to the Night of Churches, Interfaith Mountain Prayer, sporting events, network meetings, interfaith workshops and city walks, to raise awareness of religious diversity in Graz.
The project “ComUnitySpirit – Religions and Cultures in Dialogue” takes a look at the community-building power that is present in the religions and cultures represented in Austria and contributes at the municipal level in Graz and beyond to the interreligious and intercultural dialogue and to encourage appropriate encounters between citizens.
With respect for cultural and religious diversity based on European values, the ComUnitySpirit project takes on a task of great identity-creating relevance by promoting dialogue between religions and cultures in communal life. The project ComUnitySpirit – Religions and Cultures in Dialogue takes a look at the community-building, positive power that is inherent in the religions and cultures represented in Austria and contributes at the municipal level in Graz and beyond to the interreligious and intercultural dialogue and to encourage appropriate encounters between citizens.
The location in the Afro-Asian Institute Graz, with its open, tolerant and critical approach to diversity, makes it possible to deal with the topic openly in all directions. The implementation of the interreligious conference, the many years of experience and internationality, the basis of interreligious and intercultural contacts as well as the long-term and ongoing efforts for intercultural and interreligious dialogue are the supporting pillars of this dialogue platform.