Dr. Sebastian Guenther: "The role of religions in spreading peace"

Speech by Dr. Sebastian Guenther - Workshop: "The role of religions in spreading peace", 15.06.2019 Sheraton Hotel, Berlin

Sebastian Günther, Director of the Institute for Arabic studies at the University of Goettingen, begins his speech by making clear that he has not come to this meeting as an representative of a religion but rather as a professor and teacher of Islamic studies who is in constant contact with the youth of today.

“No peace between religions without dialogue between the religions. No dialogue between the religions without research of the religions.” Quotes Günther. He continues by saying that there is no religion existing which does not attempt to create a basic value system which allows for peaceful coexistence and protects it. He mentions parts of the Bible and the Quran which show similarities between both in this field regarding the 10 commandments as well as the ethical principles,

Furthermore, he explains that a part of the main curriculum or the Islamic studies at the German universities are not just religious sources but also poetic sources of the Near East.

Günther shows how the culture and the religion of Islam, which has been developing for over 1400 years, has played an essential role in the cultural development in Europe. He mentions that Arabic speaking Christians have also played an important role in the Islamic culture through translational work for example in the 8. until the 10. decade when Greek books have been translated into the Arabic language. Also, he speaks about the great influence of non-religious sciences such as politics and psychology on the development of the Islamic culture.

He ends his speech by showing how German Universities have been trying to create a peaceful coexistence between different religions thru science and education.

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