Meinerzhagen, Northern Light House: January 10 to February 9, 2014
The Guest House Northern Light, in the town of Meinerzhagen, was home to the first stage of the 2014 traveling exhibition on religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman.
For a month, it has developed its activities and initiations on the foundations of Islam, the experience of Oman in terms of tolerance and understanding between communities of different faiths, as well as its efforts to strengthen ties of friendship among all peoples of the world.
Comparably to the previous editions, the event was an opportunity to present the image of religious tolerance which distinguishes Oman as a state evolving between authenticity and modernity. The material of the exhibition, including publications and the screening of the audiovisual documentary “Religious Tolerance in Oman” reflected the will to explain in a clear and transparent way the message of Islam calling for tolerance, peace and mutual respect.
Northern Light House, headquarters of the Evangelical conference, is located in the town of Meinerzhagen (21 000 inhabitants), a town in a mountainous region in the Arnsberg district, the Land of North Rhine Westphalia. It is linked to several cities in the world through twinning actions.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Alex Moll, advisor to the Alliance of Omani-German Friendship. In a speech, Christian Graf, education director at the Northern Light House, which has repeatedly visited Oman, praised the holding of the exhibition that explains how to manage the peaceful living together of communities of different faiths, cultures and ethnicities in the Sultanate of Oman.
Freiburg University of Education: 12 to 30 June 2013
The 28th stage of the travelling exhibition on religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman was staged during two weeks in June 2013 at the University of Education in Freiburg. Presented in eight languages, the exhibition previously crossed 12 countries since its launch in April 2010. Organized by the Omani Ministry of Religious Affairs and Habous, the event was placed under the patronage of the Rector of the University of Fribourg.
Speaking at the opening session, the Director of the Institute of theology, which also sponsored the cultural event, acknowledged that “Oman has been with us as an unknown and distant country. The purpose of this exhibition is to allow precisely the Sultanate to make known its identity, culture, history and way of life.” It also aims, he added, to enhance tolerance that prevails in modern life in a Muslim state, as Oman promotes understanding among peoples of the world, one of the principles enshrined in Islam. With its human and cultural sense, the exhibition contributed simultaneously to raise public awareness for the foundations of Islam and its message of tolerance that caters to the entire human community.
As reported by a professor from the same university, it is essential to find the opening in Islam, while another teacher noted that the image of Islam and Muslims as presented in the exhibition is completely different from the one described in the German media.
After the success of this tour, which brought the event to several main cities in Europe and the United States, the exhibition was also the subject of a special interest from the faculty and the general public. Freiburg students, for their part, expressed the hope that it is the beginning of a series of activities and exchange of visits and experiences between the Omani and German universities.
Under the leadership of Mohamed Ibn Said Al Maamari, Adviser at the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Habous, the Exhibition included calligraphy copies of the Holy Quran, posters and publications that trace the development of the Sultanate as well as its history and the deep roots of Islam in social life. The public was also invited to a tasting of Omani cuisine.
The Exhibition has met the expectations of faculty and students eager to know in depth the foundations of Islam. They indeed underlined this laudable initiative that will help to remove the false prejudices attributed to Muslims and their religion.
The Exhibition, which plans to continue its journey in different parts of the world, has a Web site to access all its contents.
Hamburg, Asia-Africa Institute: June 27-July 4, 2013
The traveling exhibition stayed for a week at the Asia-Africa University of Hamburg Institute to present its works dealing with religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman. At the same time, the students and the crew of the training ship “Shabab Oman” passing through the port of Hamburg, visited the exhibition and took notice of its contents.
Under the auspices of the Omani-German Friendship Alliance, the cultural event was presented as a panorama that gives a clear and transparent view of the relationships between the different components of the Omani society, its faiths and cultures that rub in a quiet footprint atmosphere of understanding and brotherhood. It was inaugurated by Mr. Khalid Ba’Omar, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman in Germany, who was accompanied by Professor Heidemann, director of the Institute, Bruno Kaiser, president of the Omani-German Association and the crew of the training ship “Shabab Oman”.
The cultural event aligned a number of animations and information activities, summaries of the history and cultural aspects of Oman, shots of socio-economic achievements, major infrastructure and social services. It also reproduced a set of images describing the participation of Omani women in the development of society a dynamic player enjoying the same rights as men at work and in all other areas of working life. In addition to publications relating the economic developments of Oman during the last 40 years, copies of calligraphy models and a projection of the audiovisual documentary “Religious Tolerance in Oman”, a traditional dance celebrated this event at the Asia-Africa Institute of the University of Hamburg.
This institution is considered among the greatest academies in Europe for the Study of Asia and Africa, involving many research centers and departments on Islam and the Asian and African cultures, and publishes 27 journals. Its 1400 students (only 10% of German nationality) are distributed among the 14 courses of which 50% are foreign students.
The choice of this institution to house the traveling exhibition was also justified by the goal of fostering cooperation between universities and students, involving more than 100 research projects. It also has a library frequented daily by hundreds of visitors.
Munich, Hanns Seidel Foundation: March 27-April 19, 2012
The traveling exhibition on religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman was held in Munich on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Forum with the Bavarian Union, organized under the auspices of the Omani-German Alliance of Friendship (DAFG). It was installed in the exhibition “Modern Oman” showing the achievements and investment opportunities while highlighting the stability and security in the Sultanate.
The participants, including more than a hundred German entrepreneurs, were able to het acquainted with the aspects of progress in the Sultanate, presented through explanatory panels and an audiovisual documentary. They also took note of the efforts under the leadership of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said in spreading and strengthening tolerance, understanding and dialogue with all civilizations, countries and their peoples.
Otto Wiesheu, former Minister for Economy of Bavaria and current president of the DAFG, underlined the economic progress depending on openness, tolerance and pragmatic policy of the Sultanate.
According to Salem Ben Nasser Al Ismaili, chairman of the department of investments and exports, the government of Muscat granted in the last 40 years a particular importance to education, equality between women and men in all areas and good neighborhood policy.
According to Georg Popp, General Secretary of the DAFG, Ibadism played a special role in the development of a modern and open Islamic society in Oman.
Berlin, Werkstatt der Kulturen: July 20-August 19
The traveling exhibition was hosted at the Werkstatt der Kulturen (House of Culture) in Berlin to present its works during more than three weeks.
The House of Culture, which usually hosts workshops, symposia and seminars conducted by leaders of different cultures, was the ideal place to present the exhibition, including the activities coinciding with the month of Ramadan. Compared with previous years, the program was modified in order to stress enriching religious songs, chants of verses from the Koran and activities for the Muslim community in Berlin.
George Popp, Secretary General of the Omani-German Friendship Association, welcomed the initiative to host the exhibition including its holding on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Association. An exhibition on “Modern Oman” was included in the program to commemorate the event and outline the natural potential and advantages of Oman in the cultural, tourist and human field.
In addition to the exhibition on “Religious Tolerance in Oman”, an exhibition of photographs was organized in order to present the result of a recent visit of the German photograpjer Anja Menzel in the Sultanate, entitled “Oman: people and moments”.
A vast audience, including the Arab diplomatic corps in Berlin, personalities from the world of culture and art, leaders of cultural and religious centers, as well as users of the services of the House of Culture attended the opening ceremony, which furthermore staged a concert by the Omani songwriter Anwar Al Asmi.
Aachen, People’s University: 7 to 30 November 2012
Students, teachers, facilitators of cultural workshops and seminars on interfaith dialogue and visitors had the opportunity to experience the aspects of daily life and religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman through the ‘traveling exhibition’ staged at the Adult Education and People’s University at Aachen. Contemplating the information boards comprising posters, photographs, handwritten letters and publications in several languages, they realized that tolerance and perfect understanding between all components of Omani society fully reflect the Exhibition logo. The material of the exhibition was completed by a documentary DVD “Religious Tolerance in Oman” circulated to all of the participants.
The traveling exhibition, which went into its 23rd edition since the launch in April 2010, drew a huge public searching for information on the natural potentials and strengths of Oman and its mode of living in harmony between various religious communities.
Speaking at the opening session, the Commissioner General of the Exposition, Mohammad Bin Said Al Maamari, said that this initiative reflects the desire to further illustrate religions and disseminate the culture of international understanding and acceptance of the Other. The exhibition also supports the efforts of the Sultanate of Oman for ensuring the well-being, security and peace for all, without any discrimination. The Exhibition rightly is a space open to various institutions and people of different cultures. That is why, explained Bin Said Al Maamari, this cultural event ever since its first edition, improved its content by introducing a range of workshops and orientation programs on the foundations of Islam and aspects of socio-economic development in the Sultanate of Oman.
The aim of the exhibition is to invite the public of the visited countries to access a real message and credible information about Muslims and their religion. Before arriving in Aachen, the Exhibition was hosted other cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, Belgium and Estonia. This reflects its large audience and interest in several countries of the world to learn more about the experience of Oman in the field of religious tolerance in Islam and bringing together people and different communities.
Germany, Nordhorn, People’s University: January 21 to February 18, 2011
The theme “In favor of diversity” held by the Popular University (VHS) Bentheim / Nordhorn (Lower Saxony) during the first semester of the academic year of 2010/2011 perfectly joined the spirit of the travelling exhibition on “religious Tolerance in Oman”, held in the grounds of the same academic institution in early 2011.
Despite the harsh metrological conditions, more than 80 people took part in the opening ceremony, chaired by Mr. Koop, Director-VHS Bentheim Nordhorn. The assistance subsequently followed a lecture by Georg Popp, Secretary General of the German-Omani Friendship on “the development of Omani society in the last 40 years,” and the projection of a documentary on “Religious tolerance in Oman”.
Both the teachers, especially teachers of religious subjects, students and visitors appreciated the content of this exhibition. Mr. Koop said the vent was a great personal success and a major event for the University.
Germany Wilhelmshaven, Popular University: March 3 to April 8, 2011
Holding the traveling exhibition on religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman to the People’s University of Wilhelmshaven (VHS) for about five weeks had a major event to coincide with the module “Building bridges between religions” in the program of the academic year 2010/2011. This also amounts to the fact that the city of Wilhelmshaven is the only access from Germany to the North Sea and home at the same time the largest naval base in the country.
It also has a special interest in the events of Sohar (Oman) in February 2011, also played in the German media, which gave an idea of the danger of cascading revolutions which may create a climate of anxiety and affect several states without exception in the same region.
After the opening ceremony, presided over by the mayor, the Alliance Secretary General Omano-German Friendship gave a lecture entitled “Oman Sultanate horse between authenticity and modernity” which was followed by a broad exchange of views on the situation in Oman and the events that shook so many countries of the Arab world.
Copies of the exposed and copies of the DVD documentary on “Religious Tolerance in Oman” were delivered to the main speaker of the German Navy, who was among the assistants. This set of publications and graphic and audiovisual material is for German naval infantry (assigned on board the vessels deployed off the coast of Somalia in the fight against piracy operations), who travel during their permission in Omani pages Salalah.
Germany, Bamberg, Otto-Friedrich University: 6 June 2010 – 28 June 2011
At the invitation of the Center for Interreligious Studies of the University of Bamberg (Land Bavaria), the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences hosted for three weeks the traveling exhibition. At least 4,000 students of this faculty and hundreds of others in the Faculty of Theology had the opportunity to know more about the aspects of daily life as well as the coexistence and multiculturalism in the Sultanate of Oman.
After the opening ceremony, which was chaired by Van Eickels, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, along with Talabardon, Executive Director of the “Centre of Theological Studies”, a conference on Ibadism in the Sultanate of Oman was given by Professor Franke, director of the “Chair Islam.”
The university students presented a report of their tour in Oman in March 2011.
Bamberg with its 75,000 inhabitants was chosen to host the traveling exhibition, the city being founded over a thousand years still being a cathedral city. It is also an important economic and cultural center and has 2,200 historic buildings, including many medieval churches and the famous Otto-Friedrich University (founded in 1647). Since 1993, the city enrolled in the universal heritage of UNESCO and was described as a “Dream City”.
Germany: Augsburg, High Vocational School Nº 5: 4 to 20 July 2011
Augsburg, one of the oldest cities in Germany, hosted in the summer of 2011 the traveling exhibition, underlining the quality of this city that is renowned for its initiative “Peace of Augsburg”, dedicated for the first time in Europe in the sixteenth century to religious tolerance among different peoples.
The High Vocational School was specifically inspired by the content of the exhibition to introduce the benefit of three modules involving religion teachers in their work aimed to understand the points of similarity between Islam and Christianity. The same methodology has been applied in seven professional schools, which prompted more than 10,000 students to visit the traveling exhibition and complement their knowledge about Islam.
Besides the 20 posters, paintings and graphic works and the documentary DVD on “Religious Tolerance in Oman”, the cultural event has been enriched with two new modules: Arabic calligraphy and religious chants in the Sultanate of Oman. The material presented included the distinguished message of Prophet Muhammad and early Islam in the Sultanate as well as publications dealing with aspects of everyday life, history, the place of women in society and the harmonious life of the different religious communities. The content of this material has been designed to adapt to the levels of students in different branches.
According to the mayor of the city, the exhibition addressed the need to deepen dialogue and tolerance between the different components of the German society with more than 3.5 million Muslims.
The same assessment was made by the representative of the Catholic Church who called for an essential dialogue in relations within the human community, direct communication and acceptance of the other. According to the representative of the Protestant church, the exhibition came at the right time because there will never be peace between peoples without interreligious dialogue.
The director of the Professional High School said he believed that Oman is “a haven of stability and security in the Middle region”, distinguishing itself thanks to the progress made in the last 40 years by performing social services and infrastructure.
Germany, Nuremberg, Federal Office Of Migration and Refugees Affairs: September 27 to October 21, 2011
The president of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees Affairs at the German Ministry of the Interior, Manfred Schmidt, praised the importance of the conference aimed to expand the space of civil and intercultural dialogue. Efforts are being made by researchers in the same department to educate the German people about the true Islam, he said at the opening of this cultural event. Besides, the same institution hosted the German Islamic Congress in anticipation of the first institutional dialogue between Muslims and government officials from Germany.
Visitors of the Sultanate of Oman or those who studied its history easily realize the religious tolerance that exists between its various social components, said the president of the Alliance for Omani-German Friendship. This situation underlines the gestures of hospitality towards all persons regardless of their origin, ethnicity or color. Yet these elements have never been an obstacle to the development of the country and ensuring the well-being of all, he argued.
Inspired by the conduct of the Prophet Mohamed that favors the well, tolerance and positive attitudes in human relations, Oman has decided, in accordance with the instructions of Sultan Qaboos, for the organization of a series of exhibitions on the tolerance in Islam, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saud As-Syabi, Secretary General of the Cabinet of the Mufti of Oman. The majority of these cultural events held on German soil underlile the close ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, he said.
Germany, Ludwigshafen, People’s University: April 16 to May 16, 2010
The exhibition stayed for a month at the Popular University of Ludwigshafen, a city that has seen the debut of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl as a political leader.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Wolfgang Van Vliet, head of the department of social assistance and integration of the municipality of the city, and was attended by over 200 people, including local authorities, social service officials and members the Omani delegation.
The cultural event, which attracted over 4,000 people during a month, has offered the German public the opportunity to gain clearer and credible knowledge on the fundamentals of true Islam and the successful coexistence of different faiths communities, ethnic groups and cultures in the Sultanate of Oman.
Germany, Offenburg Adult Education Centre: June 11-July 31, 2010
The Director of the Centre for Adult Education Offenburg, Mrs. Woerner, inaugurated the traveling exhibition on religious tolerance in Oman, in the presence of Mr. Mohamed Said Al-Mamari, representing the Omani Ministry religious affairs and habous, and the managing director of the company Arabi Felix GmbH.
In a lecture given at the opening of the exhibition, Dr. Feininge of Freiburg University and Dean of the Faculty of Catholic and Evangelical Theology and Religious Education, explained that interfaith dialogue is based on the coexistence of people of different backgrounds and lifestyles. As human relationships are based on multiculturalism, life in society can only flourish in an environment that supports diversity and development, he continued. Firmly defending the concept of religious and cultural pluralism, Dr. Feininge argued that unlike extremist religious currents, exclusivist and sectarian diversity principles cannot succeed without the will of God.
During a month, the general public and students of different levels of three schools on Offenburg were able, through the exhibits and the projection of the documentary “Religious Tolerance in Oman”, to enrich their knowledge on culture, education and the principles of morality in Islam.
Germany, Dortmund, Reinoldinum: August 23 to September 16, 2010
The Congress Palace of Reinoldinum in the city of Dortmund (580,000 inhabitants) staged for two weeks the activities scheduled as part of the traveling exhibition on religious tolerance in the Sultanate of Oman.
The inauguration ceremony was distinguished by the presence of the mayor, Manfred Sauer, the director of education and evangelical culture, Michael Westerhoff, the director of the Omani-German Alliance of Friendship Alex Moll, and the delegation of the Omani Ministry.
The Government of Muscat ensured that active dialogue is preserved, permanent and effective with all religious communities without exception in all of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu or other communities, said Dr. Mohammed Al-Mamari Commissioner General of the Exhibition and advisor to the Omani Minister of Religious Affairs and Habous.
Besides the exhibition, a tour of 12 days, with special focus on religious tolerance, was organized in November 2011 in the Sultanate of Oman following an initiative of the department in charge of the education and evangelical program in Dortmund.
The choice of center Reinoldinum, grouping numerous educational institutions, is explained by its reputation as a dynamic institution specializing in the organization of congresses and its close relations with the Islamic organizations. Located in the center of the city, it is frequented daily by a large crowd of visitors who use its facilities
Germany, Munich, Gasteig Cultural Centre: September 25 to October 12, 2010
The traveling exhibition on religious tolerance in Oman stayed for 18 days in “Gasteig”, the major Munich Cultural Centre, having an international dimension and a large audience.
The inauguration ceremony was co-chaired by the Arabian ambassador in Germany, the mayor of Munich, the delegate advisor to Gasteig GMbH and the advisor to the Omani Minister of Religious Affairs and Habous. The ceremony was held in the presence of the Secretary General of the German-Omani Alliance of Friendship of the State of Bavaria, many personalities interested in interfaith dialogue, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, the representative of the Liaison Committee with the Muslims in the regional Evangelical Church of Bavaria and of the Advisory Board of the Munich foreigners.
The works describing various aspects of daily life and the coexistence of different faiths in the Sultanate of Oman have been the subject of great interest from the public. The institution Gasteig Munich hosts about 6,000 visitors daily and annually welcomes approximately 1,700 cultural activities, being the seat of the famous Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Strauss Conservatory, municipal libraries and a University.
Germany Hof, People’s University: 12 to 30 November 2010
The traveling exhibition “Religious Tolerance: Islam in the Sultanate of Oman” was hosted at the Festival of Cultures held at the People’s University (VHS) in the city Hof (Bavaria) in 2010? Promoting the understanding between people of different backgrounds and nationalities, the festival, organized in commemoration of the victims of the tragic events in New York in September 2001, included seminars and conferences conducted in parallel with the activities planned in the traveling exhibition program.
In the presence of nearly 150 people, the opening ceremony was chaired by the Mayor of the city of Hof, which was accompanied by the Regional Coordinator of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, the Deputy Director of the Popular University (VHS), the organizer of the exhibition, and the representative of the Omani Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments.
The person responsible for Migration and Refugees of the Federal Office described as highly informative the content of the works and the documentary DVD on Religious Tolerance in Oman for bringing a real image of Islam. Citing the testimony of one of his colleagues who frequently travels to Oman, she said that the graphics and audiovisual material of the Exhibition accurately reflects aspects of life in harmony of the different religious communities in the Sultanate.