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The Zeitschrift für Kulturaustausch (Journal for the international cultural dialogue), which has been published by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen - ifa (Institute for International Relations) for the last 53 years, provides a forum for international cultural dialog unique in Germany. As Islam suddenly once more became a subject of interest in the west following 11 September 2001, it was perfectly natural that the journal would devote itself to the subject matter in depth.
The issue on dialog with Islam combines contributions from international experts from the last 10 years and contrasts them with recent analyses. Some 45 texts have been collected, categorized according to values, religion, human rights, Mediterranean, cultural awareness, media, theater, literature, art, and film. Amongst them are several essays of essential importance for a better comprehension of the conflict-prone relationship between the "West" and the "Islamic world", wherein the background of such generalizations and the associated negative cultural images are examined in depth.
The entire issue is a remarkably critical analysis of the subject, as already indicated in the subtitle "Between claim and reality". It is, however, depressing to read what clever conclusions some of the authors had reached long ago and how little attention the political decision-makers have paid to them. In view of the current events there is little hope that the intentions voiced by the editor-in-chief, Sebastian Körber, may be fulfilled, "The politicizing of a cultural difference has laid a veil over the discussion on the clash of civilizations. To raise this veil and to open up a passage for a way out of established positions is the object of this issue."
Pat Binder & Gerhard Haupt
Publishers of Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art and of Nafas Art Magazine. Based in Berlin, Germany.
Zeitschrift für Kulturaustausch
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa),
Der Dialog mit dem Islam