What the conflicts over the newly planned mosques in countries such as Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy, and the United States have in common is the attitude that it is acceptable to build a new mosque, as long as it does not look like one. Notwithstanding the fact that Muslim citizens in these countries have a legal right to build their places of worship, such an understanding of the mosque as a specific building type very much goes against its fluid architectural concept and its multifaceted formal possibilities. While a lack of understanding and knowledge is evident in such debates, the growing public visibility of Muslims in Western Europe and the United States conditions an increasing fear of and preoccupation with the “other.” Ongoing debates over cultural and religious pluralism in the West also reveal the xenophobic and orientalist thinking that often informs these discussions. (excerpt from text Echo of Islam in the West: Reactions to the Wearable Mosque) Azra Akšamija
The lecture / performance by Azra Akšamija will continue with the round table Who is Afraid of the Other, moderated by Lana Zdravković (Slovenia).
The round-table discussion Who is Afraid of the Other will discuss the issue of fearing the Other from philosophical, sociological, aesthetic, and artistic points of view. The Other manifests itself differently in each incarnation, depending on time, social-political context, and specific situation – it can be either uncivilized, barbarian, dirty, cunning, or simply culturally, politically, ideologically, and religiously different. Where does this fear come from, where does it lead to, who acts as its encourager and abuser, and how can it be confronted? What, most importantly, does fear of the Other tell us about ourselves? The discussion will at the same time address the possibilities of placing this fear within an artistic context, on the one hand, and rethink its possible aesthetic reception, on the other. In other words, the debate will walk across borderline areas in art, while exploring the possibilities of political engagement in the artistic sphere. The round-table will gather together: artist Azra Akšamija; philosopher Rado Riha, researcher and professor at SRC SASA; aesthetician Lev Kreft, Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Director of the Peace Institute; and architect, painter, and sociologist Beatriz Tomšič Čerkez researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Education. The discussion will be hosted by Lana Zdravković, researcher at the Peace Institute and KITCH artist. Lana Zdravković
Organization: City of Women; In collaboration with: SRC SASA; Supported by: Austrian Cultural Forum - Ljubljana.