2011, Fri, Jan 21

Germany's Muslims and European Islam

Even after years of debate about migration and integration, “the Germans” and “the Muslims” still appear to represent polar opposites in the public perception. Yet a pluralist society must engage in a historically, sociologically and culturally well-founded discussion about “Islam in Germany”, which also incorporates contemporary European forms of Islam.

19:00 h The Muslimization of the Other (in German language)
the first part of the event is dedicated to the current sociopolitical debates in Germany. Muslims and those labeled as such feel under permanent pressure to behave in accordance with the groups to which they are ascribed. Is “Islam” serving as a negative projection screen for an obsolete national identity? The politician Cem Özdemir, the journalist Hilal Sezgin, the Turkish writer Sema Kaygusuz, fellow of the DAAD’s Berlin artist program, and Sawsan Chebli, consultant for intercultural affairs in the Berlin senate administration, address the question of why the controversy over Islam’s place in Germany and Europe has re-ignited at this time.
Moderation: Caroline Fetscher (Der Tagesspiegel).

20:30 h Islam in Europe (Simultaneous translation English-German)
discussion of historical and religious perspectives on Islam in Germany and Europe. Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Islamic Studies and one of the leading contemporary intellectuals, takes the stand for a European Islam in his opening dissertation. Afterwards, the historian Dan Diner and the Professor of Islamic Studies Gudrun Krämer will discuss his theories.
Introduction: Susanne Stemmler, Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Organized by Haus der Kulturen Welt in co-operation with Allianz Kulturstiftung and the artist programme DAAD

Allianz Kulturstiftung           DAAD

Presented by:

Zenith           taz. Die Tageszeitung           Qantara.de: Dialog mit der islamischen Welt

Short Biographies

Sabine Adatepe is a writer and independent literary translator for Turkish who lives in Hamburg. She has contributed to, among other works, the series “Türkische Bibliothek” (Turkish Library) (Unionsverlag 2005-2010) and most recently translated 'Hauptsache ein Ehemann' by Hatice Meryem (Orlanda Verlag 2010). She moderates, reads and interprets at literary events.

Sawsan Chebli studied political science at the Freie Universität Berlin with a concentration in international relations and worked in the German Bundestag for six years as a research associate. Since 2007, she has been a member of the Körber Network Foreign Policy of the Körber Foundation. In 2009 she was made an Associate Fellow of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (German Council on Foreign Relations). She co-founded the Deutsch-Arabische Freundschaftsgesellschaft (Society for German-Arab Friendship) and currently serves as advisor for intercultural affairs in the Senatsverwaltung für Inneres und Sport (Senate Department for the Interior and Sport) in Berlin.

Dan Diner, born in 1946 in Munich, is a professor for modern history at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and director of the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University. He has published numerous works on the political history of the twentieth century, the history of the Middle East, and Jewish history. Recent publications: 'Zeitenschwelle. Gegenwartsfragen an die Geschichte' (2010), 'Gegenläufige Gedächtnisse. Über Geltung und Wirkung des Holocaust' (2007), 'Versiegelte Zeit. Über den Stillstand in der islamischen Welt' (2005).

After training as a journalist at the Henri-Nannen-Schule, Caroline Fetscher studied literary theory and psychology in Freiburg and Hamburg. From 1982 to 1989 she worked for Greenpeace (including as editor-in-chief of Greenpeace-Magazin). From 1980 she wrote for publications such as Der Spiegel, Geo, Süddeutsche Zeitung, die tageszeitung, Merkur and Frankfurter Rundschau. Since 1997, she has written for the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, focusing on human rights, especially the protection of children, Southeastern Europe, the Hague Tribunal, gender questions, transatlantic relations and politico-cultural issues.

Sema Kaygusuz, born in 1972 in Samsun, Turkey, studied in Ankara from 1990 to 1994, where she also worked as a theater actress and in radio broadcasting. A number of prize-winning volumes of short stories preceded her first novel, Yere Düsen Dualar (Wine and Gold), which was published in 2006 and was received with high praise. In 2007 she published a study on ethnic and religious diversity in Turkey, a subject that is of great significance also to her literary writing. Today she lives in Istanbul, where she teaches creative writing and other subjects. According to a survey by the journal Notos, she is considered to be one of the most promising young authors in her home country.

Gudrun Krämer is a professor at the Institute for Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and director of the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. Born in 1953 in Marburg, Germany, she studied history, Islamic studies, political science and English in Heidelberg, Bonn and Sussex, England. She earned her doctorate and postdoctoral qualification in Hamburg. She has held guest lectureships in Bologna, Paris, Erfurt, Cairo, Jakarta and Beirut. Gudrun Krämer is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, holds an honorary doctorate from Tashkent Islamic University, and is co-editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Three. She received the 2010 International Research Prize of the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Recent publications: 'Hasan al-Banna' (2010), 'A History of Palestine' (2008), 'Speaking for Islam. Religious Authorities in Muslim Societies' (co-edited with Sabine Schmidtke, 2006).

Cem Özdemir was born in 1965 in Bad Urach, Germany. He is married and has two children. He is federal chairman of the German political party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Alliance ‘90/The Greens). In addition to ecological and economic questions in the framework of a “Green New Deal,” the politician with a professional background in social education devotes particular attention to urgently needed reforms in educational policy. Cem Özdemir has also authored several books. In 'Currywurst und Döner – Integration in Deutschland' and his autobiography, 'Ich bin ein Inländer', he reflects on his multicultural experience in Germany. 'Die Türkei. Politik. Religion, Kultur', a book for young readers, was published in 2008.

Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University (Oriental Institute, St. Antony’s College). He studied philosophy and French literature before earning his PhD in Arab and Islamic studies at the University of Geneva. The Islamic scholar is considered one of the leading intellectuals of the present and a forward thinker on a European Islam. His work, both within and outside of academia, deals with theology, ethics, social justice, ecology, and inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. Tariq Ramadan is president of the European think tank European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels. Recent publications: 'The Quest for Meaning: Developing a Philosophy of Pluralism' (2010), 'What I Believe' (2009), 'Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation' (2008).

Hilal Sezgin, born 1970, studied philosophy in Frankfurt am Main before working for a number of years as a cultural writer at the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau. Since 2007, she has lived near Lüneburg, Germany, and worked as a freelance journalist. She writes for publications such as Die Zeit, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung and die tageszeitung. Her work focuses on philosophy, Islam, migration, feminism and animal ethics. She has published books about women of Turkish descent in Germany and on modern readings of the Koran. Hilal Sezgin is a regular author of the “Islamic Word” at the German broadcaster SWR and a member of the Liberal-Islamischer Bund (Liberal Islamic Association). She was recently honored with the 2010 European Muslim Women of Influence Award. Recent publications: 'Mihriban is Mad at God' (2010) and 'Country Life. From Someone Who Moved Out' (forthcoming).