On the first day of our project, the Mannheim Institute for integration and interreligious dialogue invited us to their headquarters where we met Mr. Kamran and Mr. Schäfer.
This institute was founded in 1995 and the core assignments and values of this organisation are:
They not only work with religious organisations such as churches mosques or synagogues but also with the German state like the council of Mannheim and other state organisations, which makes them even more diverse than the other religious groups in Germany.
They began our visit by introducing themselves and reporting on the projects listed above. This resulted in a discussion and analysis of the problems cultures, in particular in Mannheim and Haifa, have coexisting peacefully. The vast Turkish community in Mannheim has had a difficuilt standing in the history of Mannheim. During the sixties Turkish workers came to Germany to fill the gap of missing labour force. They were mostly uneducated and after Germany was rebuilt they did not go back to Turkey but stayed in Germany, mostly not even knowing the language. For the German population they were an alien culture from the east. After their families followed them to Germany, conflicts started erupting between the cultures. The Turks started occupying large concentrated areas of Mannheim and wanted to build a mosque so that they could practise their Muslim religion. This created a great mistrust between the two cultures. And this is where the institute for interreligious dialogue wanted to step in. They found that a lot of tension between cultures can be removed by talking to each other and finding out what the other person is like, what their interests are and what their lifestyle is like.
This assumption is based on the fact that the the major reiligions have a lot in common. Their religious books are partly the same and their customs are also similar to some extend.
A great secondary effect of a religious dialogue is that one gets to know his own religion better and can connect different ideologies to have a broader and more diverse horizon.
Mr. Kamran promised that the next time young group leaders from the Turkish community will report to us about this organisation and give us an introduction to different aspect of their work in general.