Module III, Vienna

Caption from morning meditation: building bridges for overcoming difficulties

Vienna, Austria
October 1 – 7, 2016



The reflection on historic memories is intimately connected to the location where module II takes place; in Vienna memories of the Turkish sieges of the 16th and 17th centuries live on. Many public places are named in commemoration of these events. Today, however, relationships between the ’local people’ and the Muslim migrant population are predominantly shaped by socio-economic factors. More and more the Muslim influences on food, music and fashion are becoming visible.

The module:

  • introduces new research on the history of Christian-Muslim interactions in Central Europe. It explores where the memories come from: the negative experience of the Turkish sieges or the early positive recognition of Islam in the Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • looks at specific fields of interaction in daily living. Family patterns, food, health and hygiene, dress codes, feasts, work, presence in the public space, art and music – these are areas marked by both cooperation and tension


The module practises interreligious learning and intercultural communication in a variety of ways: lectures, cultural presentations, ‘encounters’, sharing innovative practises, and doing things together in a neighbourly fashion, such as shopping for food and cooking.


Vienna has always been a meeting place of cultures, where people have developed their own way of integrating diverse elements into something new. More recently right-wing political trends have played on old prejudices against migrants. In this context, learning from each other has become important among the different religious communities.


Rev. Barbara Heyse-Schaefer, MA, studied Protestant theology in Vienna, Tübingen and Berlin, with a focus on feminist theology and Jewish- Christian dialogue. She served as Protestant university pastor in Vienna and since 2003 she has been director of the Protestant Women’s Agency of Austria. In this capacity she has been responsible for policy of women’s programmes of the church. She has been president of the EPIL Board since 2011.


Dr. Lise Jamila Abid, studied Near Eastern/ Islamic Studies and Communication Science at the University of Vienna. Embraced Islam in 1969. Since 1993 she has been a freelance journalist and since 2002 she has been a lecturer at the University of Vienna. Focus of interests and publications are women and gender studies, women in Islam, human rights and Islam, Islam and global ethics.

In EPIL III (2011 – 2013) she was a member of the Vienna Academic Team.



Protestant Women’s Agency, ANIMA – Catholic Organization for Adult Education of Women, Catholic Women’s Movement of Austria, Association of Muslim Women’s Organizations in Austria


Evangelische Frauenarbeit, Blumengasse 4, A-1180 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43/14089605, E-mail:

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