IFIS&IZ | Photo exhibition
„Islamic Life in Europe – People and Architecture“

On the 2nd February, the Institution for Islamic Studies and Intercultural Cooperation (IFIS&IZ) and the House of Culture for European Muslims (KUDEM) hosted the photography exhibition titled “Islamic Life in Europe – People and Architecture”.

This impressive photo gallery from the Danish photographer Eckhard Ahmed Krausen, pictures architectural, social and cultural perspectives from Muslims in Europe. The theologian, Ms. Prof. Beinhauer-Köhler, from the University of Marburg gives a scientific analysis with her lecture titled “Mosques in Germany – Visual Presence and Perspectives”.

Dr. Hüseyin Ilker Cinar (head of IFIZ&IZ) opened the event commenting: “With this exhibition here today we want to bring together two essential elements for communal coexistence: culture and science.” For Prof. Cinar these elements are indispensable for exchange and progress of communal life. The director of KUDEM shared the same sentiment: “In order to achieve this goal our approach involves making use of the universal language of art, aesthetics and science. We are convinced these human crafts through the art of thinking are not meant to be an end in themselves, but should be used as tools, creating new possibilities so as to connect people and bring them closer together therefore enhancing communication.”

For the city and mayor of Mannheim, Dr. Peter Kurz, this exhibition is very special. He said: “These photos are about something real and Mannheim is just the right place for such an exhibition. Here we always had an intense communication between different cultures and it is our common objective to develop a city community lead by the skills of empathy.” The exhibition is a great meeting point to get to know each other even more.

For the Turkish consul in Karlsruhe, Serhat Aksen, this event demonstrates “an end of the unnecessary debate about whether Islam belongs in Germany. It is simply a reality and the diversity that comes with it, is an enrichment for everyone involved.

Dr. Ahmet Bedir, dean of the faculty for theology at Bozok University in Yozgat (Turkey), emphasized the importance of the exchange of ideas an added: “that only through an open and receptive attitude the relationship between different religions and cultures can work effectively.”

The speakers as well as the guests were also impressed with the specialized Islamic library of the IFIS&IS. Prof. Dr. Erdal Toprakyaran, head of the centre for Islamic theology at the university of Tübingen was fascinated by the array of the book inventory: “Now that I have seen this library I wish Mannheim was a bit closer to Tübingen.”

It was back in December 2013 that IFIS&IZ announced its Islamic speciaized library, intending to obtain an amount of 100,000 literary works. It has already reached the first quarter of its goal with 25,000 books. The primal phases of creating that library Prof. Cinar goes on to explain: “Through numerous travels from Cairo, Beirut to Istanbul a team of scientists that included colleagues from each of the mentioned countries- including myself made it to collect and bring books to Mannheim, some of which were difficult to find.”
In regards to motivation and goals of the IFIS&IZ Prof. Cinar said: “The objective of our work is to create good conditions for young academics and thus support them within their studies. This way the IFIS&IZ gives Master and PhD students a platform in which they can carry out their university work.” Prof. Cinar emphasized that this goal is taken very seriously.