1st international Symposium of IFIS & IZ on
“Spirituality in Religion und Culture”

The IFIS & IZ has invited more than 40 international renowned scientists and experts to the topic of “spirituality in religion and culture”. For the symposium the mayor of the city of Mannheim Dr. Peter Kurz had taken on the patronage. The symposium marked at the same time the prelude of the institutes work.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. phil. Hüseyin Ilker Cinar welcomed the guests and opened the symposium with a statement to the necessity of the mutual understanding of the different religions, cultures and people. Despite the differentness there are a variety of things in common, which have to be highlighted in order to promote the common dialogue.”Our task is to build bridges and to promote the dialogue”; Cinar said.

In this context Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cinar further states, “dialogue is not only the mission of the religious experts in churches, mosques or synagogues, it is more the mission of everyone, regardless in which function”. The goal of the IFIS&IZ is therefore, to be a contact point for the questions covering Islam and dialogue between the cultures and religions.

The mayor of the city Mannheim Dr. Peter Kurz, congratulated to the ”impressive opening”. “This is an important institute and a signal for the city of Mannheim”. Mannheim with more than 160 different nationalities is an ideal place for the joint development. “It is a matter, to take the “unifying” as the basis for the live together”; Kurz said.

Mr. Cetiner Karahan, General Consul of the Turkish Republic in Karlsruhe, emphasized in his speech the immediately increasing demand of comparable civilian institutions like the IFIS&IZ. He also expressed his happiness about the foundation of such an impressive institute in the 50th anniversary of the bilateral agreement on labour recruitment between Germany and Turkey.

A highly interesting parable has been alleged by Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Kafi Dönmez, principal of the 29 Mayis University in Istanbul. With a practical example he compared the efforts in order to secure the materialistic values with the careless treatment of the spiritual values.

Mr. Prof. Dr. Rasit Kücük made his welcome speech behalf of the present deans of the theological faculties of Turkey, hereunder Prof. Dr. Ali Osman Ates, from the Cukurova University Adana, Turkey.

In the three-day symposium renowned scientists and experts from 9 countries: Germany, France, Turkey, Spain, Lebanon, Austria, Malta, Poland and Iraq examined and discussed the historical and theoretical interactions between the three world religions.

Hereunder for example: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Bobzin (University of Erlangen) with his speech about the „Approach of Islamic spirituality in the Qur’an”, or Prof. Dr. Edmund Weber (University of Frankfurt) with “Spirituality, a new form of religion”. From the Muslim internal perspective Prof. Dr. Süleyman Uludağ (Uludağ University, Bursa Turkey) gave insights into the topic “Spirituality in the Islamic Mystic”. Prof. Dr. Georges Hobeika (pro-rector of the Saint – Esprit University Kaslik, Lebanon) gave a talk to the topic “Spirituality and the quest for meaning”.