It was after midnight, but Walter Lübcke, 65, was still sitting on the terrace of his house in Wolfhagen-Istha, a small town near Frankfurt. The local politician, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, lit a cigarette. He could probably still hear the music from the party tent at a nearby carnival when the bullet hit – fired at short range, from a 9mm pistol, into the side of his head.
They are both fighting for a pluralistic society: the Berliners Armin Langer and Ozan Zakariya Keskinkilic. Together, they are active in the Berlin-based Salaam-Shalom Initiative, which has been committed to the peaceful coexistence of religions since 2013.
Dr Weingardt, we read about violence and even war in the name of religion on almost a daily basis. Would the world be a more peaceful place without religion? No, certainly not. Actually religion is never the reason for conflicts. It is rather the case that it is used to justify them. This applies in much the same way to secular ideologies such as nationalism or communism.
At the end of July 2019, 1,800 companies in Germany were sent an e-mail containing a questionnaire about human rights. One of the questions was as follows: “Has your company put in place a process by which to identify the potentially negative effects of your business activities on human rights?”
All over the world, religion is dominated by men. The tenth World Assembly of “Religions for Peace” is determined to involve women in the dialogue. 150 places at the conference were reserved especially for women. We spoke to three women who took part.
Father Nikodemus, since 2018 you have advised the Federal Foreign Office in the Religion and Foreign Policy section. Normally you live as a monk in a Benedictine abbey in Jerusalem. What brought you to Berlin? The precursor to the department was the Task Force on the Responsibility of the Religions for Peace. In 2017 and 2018, it organised large-scale network meetings of religious actors that I also had the chance to attend. I was therefore familiar with the work of the Federal Foreign Office, and the Federal Foreign Office – and in particular the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication – was aware of my expertise.