A full classroom of students, faculty, and visitors listened on Wednesday evening, March 22, to guest speaker Armin Langer from the German University of Potsdam. Langer, a Hungarian Jew, born in Munich in 1990 to a family of Hungarian immigrants, presented the work of his interfaith group “Salaam-Schalom.” “Salaam-Schalom” promotes peaceful religious coexistence and united resistance against growing Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe. The initiative grew out of a social-media project about Neukölln, an often called “no-go-area” for Jews, but actually a multi-culturally flourishing quarter of Berlin that Langer has called home for several years. Langer and his friends succeeded in drawing international attention to the media and political misrepresentation of presumed hostilities between Muslims and Jews in Germany that have little in common with their actual peaceful everyday life experience in Berlin and beyond.
Langer’s first book (Aufbauverlag, 2016) about the project and its significance in the current European political landscape combines his political work with his academic studies. In the Q&A, he stressed the importance of promoting academic knowledge outside the universities to enable informed public conversations about the future of civil and religious liberty. “Salaam-Schalom” is about to open its eighth branch in Switzerland and hopes to be an example for future similar political initiatives in Europe and the US.
The full talk and discussion will be available online at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/ncsu-jewish-studies/id1038500717?mt=10