Islamic Studies Scholar Lamya Kaddor was born in 1978 as the daughter of Syrian immigrants in Ahlen, Germany. Following her graduate studies at the University of Münster, she joined the institution’s academic staff, with her duties including the training of teachers of Islamic Religious Studies. She is originator and co-publisher of the first textbook series for teaching Islamic Religious Studies in schools, Saphir. In collaboration with Rabeya Müller, she was first in translating sections of the Koran to German for children and adults. In 2010, Lamya Kaddor founded the Liberal Islamic Foundation (Liberal-Islamischer Bund e.V.).

Kaddor herself taught Islamic Religious Studies in Einslaken, until she took leave of her position at the school in September 2016 due to death threats after the publishing of her book Die Zerreissprobe (The Tensile Test). She has a long history working as an author and publicist (Muslimisch weiblich deutsch, Zum Töten bereit – Muslim Female German, Prepared to Kill). She has received multiple awards for her work.

September 22, 2020

Interview with Jury Member Lamya Kaddor

Corona, global warming, refugees, exclusion, wars. In view of these global challenges, do you still have hope for our society? What is your source of courage?

I do indeed have hope for this world! Even while we are being confronted with extremely different perceptions and perspectives which make our lives seem complicated – particularly during the Corona pandemic. Sometimes I ask myself, “What is the glue holding our society together?” From a political standpoint, our expectations shouldn’t be too high. My belief is that the only way to overcome boundaries – including mental ones – is through art and culture. That is repeatedly shown by the submissions to The Power of the Arts, and it’s something I really draw hope and courage from.

Successful integration into our society for refugees and people with an immigration background is crucial both now and in the future, to be sure. What do you think the conditions are for achieving that?

Integration works in societies that aren’t in an extreme or exceptional situation. In societies that are in search of orientation, societies where part of the population is lining up behind those who presume to deliver orientation, it becomes difficult to provide people with a stable proposition that will stand up to the test of time. One of our greatest challenges in these times of uncertainty is to find a reliable stance and offer strength and continuity.

Challenges are coming at shorter and shorter intervals: the climate crisis, euro crisis, refugee crisis, and now Corona. Despite being confronted with these global challenges, we must find a way to coexist in peace. Education, art, and culture are essential to that end, which is why supporting them is a necessity.

May 29, 2018

Interview with Jury Member Lamya Kaddor

Islamic studies scholar and jury member Lamya Kaddor on her motives for contributing to The Power of the Arts and the need to foster the preservation of social diversity in today’s times.

What moved you to become part of the jury at The Power of the Arts?

It is my conviction that integration can also be expressed in art and culture, for it is both versatile and individual – just like art itself. That is the reason I accepted the invitation to participate in the jury.

How do you envision a society that is ready for the future?

The ideal society of the future will only be viable if it lives (out) democratic values like gender equality, freedom of expression, artistic liberty, and freedom of religion. Open and free societies will be ready for the future when they identify diversity as an important element for coexistence.

Why do we as a society need to be striving for a new “We” now, of all times?

We find ourselves in times where right-wing forces – social and political alike – are growing in strength and propagating a type of homogeneity that is neither real nor desirable.

The Power of the Arts advocates for the creation of a new “We” – how do you picture this new “We”?

We live in an open, modern society that is becoming increasingly diverse. At the same time, this society characterized by globalization and digital revolution, also has forces growing in it that oppose such development and advancement, because they feel threatened by it in the widest variety of ways. That is why diversity should represent a central component to a “new us”.

Why are the arts so important for creating the opportunity for inclusion in society?

With the arts, access to inclusion and inclusion itself are not associated with any prerequisites other than an artistic interest and the will to fortify solidarity in our society through art.

You’ve been active in various issues. Which issue is particularly close to your heart?

Solidarity in our society is particularly close to my heart. The arts and engagement in civil society can achieve much more than politics alone.