Our Imams aid our members in pastoral matters, offering support in grief and joy. They hold prayers to celebrate the birth of a child or the erection of a building, they assist in weddings and officiate in the ceremony, and they hold funeral prayers and attend to the bereaved. As we repudiate any form of extremism and wish to promote justice and constitutionality, we expect the sermons of our Imams, which are based on the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (Sunnah), to strengthen belief in God, encourage tolerance and condemn violence.
Activities for children
Our association organises religious classes in Graz and Gleisdorf. The classes complement regular religious education classes offered by schools. We teach basic knowledge of Islam and convey Islamic values and rules, as well as encourage their implementation in everyday life.
We wish to help children to understand their own religion, thereby enabling them to accept and value themselves and others. We also encourage academic achievement and therefore provide individual tutoring to students of all grades. As a stimulating learning environment improves progress at school, it is a matter of great importance for us to equip the new centre with classrooms.
To entertain the young and young-at-heart we regularly organise field trips and competitions on religious topics. At the new centre, kids will be able to let off steam in the playground while they are properly taken care of in the newly created day care centre.
The members of our youth organisation meet every Friday evening. At these meetings, young people can expand their knowledge and try to form their own opinions by discussing different issues which are by no means limited to Islam. Graz is a popular place of study for students from all over the world, but particularly those from the Balkans. Many members of our youth organisation are students who grew up in Austria or came to Austria in order to complete their studies. Our young members support newcomers by sharing their own experiences. In the future, we plan to offer German classes to foreign students to help them settle in. Our young members have already organised various projects in cooperation with other youth organisations, as well as meetings with student and youth groups from other religions. In addition, our youth organisation is involved in a wide range of humanitarian projects and organises sporting and cultural events, trips, journeys, drama groups and choirs.
Activities for adults
The Islamic Cultural Centre Graz is dedicated to the preservation of the Islamic religion and its customs and promotes the integration of Muslims in Austria. We advise our members in religious, social and cultural matters and assist them in their personal and professional development by creating programmes which meet their specific requirements. We offer lectures on family issues, workshops on education and upbringing, Quran recitations and discussions on religious topics.
In 2000, a group of young women founded the women’s association ‘Hatiǆa’. This association endeavours to strengthen the position of women in Austrian society, improve their quality of life and support their individual and professional development. Hatiǆa organises women’s meetings, training programmes, language classes, Quran interpretation lectures, and trips and sporting events for women. The new Islamic Cultural Centre Graz will enable us to respond more specifically to the needs of our female visitors by creating broader programmes and developing special approaches.
Throughout the year, we organise celebrations and fringe events to honour Muslim holidays, such as the feast of Ramadan, the Festival of Sacrifice, the Islamic New Year and the commemoration of the birth of Muhammad. Traditionally, we celebrate the night of the revelation of the Quran once a year and we meet several times during Ramadan for the fast-breaking meal.
Sporting and cultural events
Our association organises a wide variety of sporting and cultural events, such as book presentations, panel discussions and concerts. In 2011, we staged the much-heralded cross-cultural concert ‘Jerusalem-Sarajevo-Graz’ on the city’s castle hill. We have also established regular football tournaments for children and adults. In the future, we plan to organise exhibitions and cinema shows.
The Islamic Cultural Centre Graz wishes to create a platform for new ideas and projects. The projected all-purpose hall will play a pivotal role in this undertaking.
Open-minded communication between different religions is of utmost importance for communal life. An open dialogue will help us further mutual understanding and exemplify our mentality and way of life. In this manner we will be able to develop respectful and tolerant relationships. We wish to become a major contact point for inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues and to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural encounters. We have already hosted numerous pupils, students, interested fellow citizens and members of other churches.
The new Islamic Cultural Centre Graz shall become a respected and prominent representative of Islam in Graz.
Open to all nationalities
In Europe, most Muslim associations are organised according to the ethnic backgrounds of their members. Our association, however, wishes to be open to all Muslims, irrespective of their nationality. The Islamic Cultural Centre Graz shall be a gathering place for everyone. An important step towards the realisation of this objective is to give sermons in German, as the second and third generations of migrants usually speak German better than their mother tongue. The German language will serve as an integrating element. If all believers communicate in the same language, it will not matter whether they originate from Bosnia, Turkey or some other place.
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