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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Panel discussion: "After the minaret ban: The open society and Islam"

Invitation to a press conference and a public debate about the subject "After the Minaret Ban: The Open Society and Islam"

The presence of Islam in Europe cannot be ignored nowadays and confronts those societies that attract Muslim immigrants a major challenge. The public debate, organized by the Universitarian Priority Program Asia and Europe and Reset – Dialogues on Civilization (Rome), is aimed at this presence of Islam in Europe and the set of problems connected to the condition of a secular (or post-secular?) Europe. The debate raises the question: In which kind of Europe or Switzerland do we want to live? The perspectives opened up in this process refer to the home countries of the participants, respectively the countries they or their ancestors originate from.

Nilüfer Göle focuses on the presence and symbolism of Muslims, especially praying Muslims, in public spaces on the streets of Paris, Milan or London. Giuliano Amato ponders the question, whether the democratic instrument of public referendums might lead to results that might have a negative impact on democracy and the liberal principles it is based upon, especially if majority votes are used to define and decide about the rights of minorities.

Reinhard Schulze perceives the minaret ban as an example of the new clash of cultures between representatives of a secular or, on the other hand, representatives of a post-secular order. Katajun Amirpur is of the opinion that the minaret ban breaks a taboo and sets a precedent in Europe.

Rosemarie Zapfl, as the president of the Bund Schweizerischer Frauenorganisationen alliance F, uses and talks about a specifically Swiss perspective on the symbols of Islam

Press conference, 17th of November, 2:30-3:30 p.m.


  • Katajun Amirpur – URPP Asia and Europe, University of Zurich
  • Nilüfer Göle – École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris
  • Nina zu Fürstenberg – Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations, Rome

Location: URPP Asia and Europe, Wiesenstrasse 7-9, lecture room 1st floor.

Please announce your participation at the press conference at: Dr. Inge Ammering (inge.ammering{at} or by phone 044 634 0738). Singular interviews are possible as well if requested. The statements of the participants can be made available in advance of the debate.

Panel discussion, Wednesday, 17th of November, 5:30-7:30 p.m.


  • Giuliano Amato – Luiss University, Rome, former Italian Prime Minister
  • Katajun Amirpur – URPP Asia and Europe, University of Zurich
  • Nilüfer Göle – École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris
  • Reinhard Schulze – Institute of Islam Studies, University of Bern
  • Rosemarie Zapfl – President of alliance F – Bund Schweizerischer Frauenorganisationen, former National Councillor and member of the Council of Europe.

Introduction: Andrea Büchler – URPP Asia and Europe / Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Legal Studies (CIMELS), University of Zurich. Moderation: Nina zu Fürstenberg – Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations, Rome.

Location: Auditorium HAH-E-3, Häldeliweg 2, 8044 Zurich

The panel discussion will be conducted in German and English.

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