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Statement from the Museum für Islamische Kunst on the Terror Attack in Hanau

09.03.2020

The terrorist attack in Hanau has left us all deeply shaken. Our thoughts and condolences are with the victims and their families. We wish to express solidarity with all those who are subjected to forms of discrimination and racism.

The escalation of political debates around the “self” and the “other”, what belongs to “our” culture and what is “foreign”, and the violent actions that this feeds is a development we have followed with growing concern. The Museum für Islamische Kunst is a symbol of the evolving nature of art and culture, which exist in a constant state of flux. The museum’s masterpieces are reflections of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual societies in which they were produced. By negotiating notions of the “self” and the “other”, these categories have been continually transformed and reconceived. History shows us that creating static definitions of these concepts is as impossible as it is to define concepts like belonging, identity, and homeland. Societies have never been homogenous, and their constant evolution is not a threat to art, culture and society, but rather their driving force.    

The employees of the Museum für Islamische Kunst of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are deeply disturbed by the fact that certain sectors of our diverse society are being subjected to aggressive attacks and exclusion by other sectors. Though these attacks – which select their victims based on their ethnicity or their religion – directly affect individuals, these individuals are not isolated instances, and the attacks do not take place in a vacuum. They damage our society as a whole, in its diversity and complexity. As a museum, as part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, as part of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, as a contributor to contemporary culture and society and a link to a shared past and future, we pledge our support to those affected. A vibrant culture lives from the peaceful and creative exchange among the people who produce it. This knowledge should not just be reflected in the objects exhibited by the Museum für Islamische Kunst. It should also point the way toward the society in which we wish to live, today and tomorrow.