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Zilka Spahić Šiljak



Faith can serve as a source of social change and can bring different groups around common ideas and the common good. Its role can be formal through official faith institutions and informal through the work of individuals who are engaged in civil society organizations. Faith has driven activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to work on bridging and linking believers from various religious traditions, but also non-believers who share similar ideas and concerns for the social wellbeing in their communities. The paper discusses the secular-religious divide through faith-based activism in BiH and how “relational dialogism” can help in overcoming these divisions. The International Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (IMIC) Initiative “Three Monotheistic Voices” and TPO’s initiative “A Weltethos in School” can serve as examples of how faith-based activists use religious arguments in secular non-governmental settings to pursue dialogue, peace and social change in their communities. Both initiatives gather scholars and practitioners of varying ethnic, religious and non-religious identities from the Balkans. Some of the activists are laity and theologians, while some are scholars and activists who recognize the power of religion to translate ideas of peace, dialogue and development into social and political life.


religious, secular, faith-based, relational dialogism, social change

Cite this paper

Spahić Šiljak, Z. (2015). Believers for social change: Bridging the secular religious divide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. International Relations and Diplomacy, 3(10), 681-690.

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