Forum Berlin - Debates | Day 2

Ten Years of 9/11

The Power of Images | The Code of the Religious | Insights/Outlook

Sun, May 29, 2011
12 noon–5 pm
Free admission | Please reagister at

German and English with simultaneous translation

Ten Years 9/11: Politics, Language, Images in the 21. Century

Unfolding before the eyes of the world public, captured in a flood of iconic images, and shown on television thousands of times, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 marked a global caesura with far-reaching consequences.

Saturday 28.05.2011 | Sunday 29.5.2011

12:00 h – 13:30 h

The Power of Images

Luca Giuliani, Rector Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
James Der Derian, Research Professor of International Studies, Founder of the Watson Institute’s Global Media Project, Brown University, Providence
Ibrahim Helal, Director of Editorial Development, Al Jazeera, Doha
Sinan Antoon
Tom Holert

Moderation: Cristina Nord, Journalist, die tageszeitung, Berlin

In an endless video loop on September 11 and far beyond, the airplanes hurtled into the towers of the World Trade Center. The loops produced a now-global canon of iconic images – a testimony to the vulnerability of a world power. Neither viewers nor political decision-makers could escape the force of these pictures. Like no media event before, 9/11 became a shared point of reference for a global public, notwithstanding the different interpretations and positions it called forth. The power of images has grown since 9/11, giving rise to a struggle for the prerogative of their interpretation. Disseminated in real time, simultaneously, transnationally, via social networks, they shape our perception of the world. To what extent are pictures themselves becoming catalysts of events? How do they change the space and direction of political action?

14:30 h – 16:00 h

The Code of the Religious

Leila Ahmed, Professor of Women's Studies in Religion, Harvard Divinity School
Manan Ahmed (Junior Professor of Islam in South and Southeast Asia, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Free University Berlin)
Fadi A. Bardawil (Anthropologist, Fellow of the Berlin research program “Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe”)
Moderation: Andrian Kreye, Journalist, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

A “return of the religious” has been increasingly observed since 9/11 – not only with regard to the motives of the perpetrators and their sympathizers, or to the legitimization strategies of the political and military responses of the “West.” In debates on other questions, too, a “Christian-Jewish-occidental-enlightened” tradition is set against a stereotyped Islam and its associated traits – ranging from women’s oppression to terrorism. What is the nature of the relationship today between political action/legitimization and religion? How much of what we take for granted in the globalized modern “secular age” is called into question by the new intermeshing of religion and politics? What role does religion play in the democratic mission? And how do Muslims in different regions deal with such pressure? As the new, or newly rediscovered, signature of political and military action, is the code of the religious superseding territorial thinking?

16:00 h - 17:00 h


Bernd Scherer, Director Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Andreas Eckert, Chairman of the Board Forum Transregionale Studien, Professor of African History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Detlev Ganten, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Stiftung Charité, Berlin
Thomas Risse, Professor of International Relations, Freie Universität Berlin, Board of Trustees Stiftung Zukunft Berlin

Sawsan Chebli (Intercultural Affairs Division, Ministry of the Interior and Sports of the State of Berlin) talks with young members of an interreligious working group of the project JUMA (Young, Muslim, Active) about the impact of 9/11 on their environment, the society and the coexistence of religions.

Day 2: Short biographies of the participants

Saturday 28.05.2011 | Sunday 29.5.2011

Organized by: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Forum Transregionale Studien and Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, in the series Forum Berlin