Manifesto für a peaceful and active cooperation of the religions in Stuttgart

Stuttgart - an international city

Our city has a strong international character and this internationality will affect our city even stronger in the 21st century. Increasing globalization will continue to open up borders for the trade of goods, services, information, financial flows, scientific exchange, and cultural cooperation. By the same token, more and more people from all over the world cross the boundaries of their own cultural area. Being one of the strongest high tech and exportation regions of Europe, the metropolitan area of Stuttgart will be affected particularly strong by the process of globalization.

People from more than 170 nations currently live in Stuttgart - speaking more than hundred languages. This diversity distinguishes our city. One in every four inhabitants of the city of Stuttgart is either foreign born or has at least one parent with a background of immigration. Therefore, Stuttgart can be seen a kind of microcosm of the United Nations at the interface of internationality and integration.

In the past, many initiatives, the churches, religious communities and their institutions as well as neighborly friendship have resulted in the peaceful cohabitation of people and have made our city the safest major city in Germany. Additionally, the "Pact for Integration" plays a role in this. An important actor in the "Pact for Integration" for example is the "Forum of Cultures" playing a substantial role in promoting contacts and cooperation with its many forums for dialogue and a number of integration services.

We regard it as our common mission to develop and safeguard this peaceful and helpful cooperation. In particular, we are aware of possible dangers for the social harmony in Stuttgart, when economic difficulties associated with the loss of apprenticeships for young people or the impairment of employment opportunities may put at risk the social balance in our city.

Primarily, we regard it as dangerous, that religious beliefs are underminded by the influences of radical fundamentalism and that social discontent and unrest are fomented in the name of a religion - also among people who have a background of migration. Another danger is that religions might be abused politically. These dangers we seek to thwart.

The Round Table of the Religions

We call upon all Stuttgart citizens to take on the common responsibility for a peaceful and prosperous cohabitation. This includes the toleration of the other, the acceptance of foreign customs and traditions, and most importantly the respect of the religious convictions of others. The Round Table of Religions in Stuttgart therefore places a special responsibility on the religious communities in our city to realize their particular responsibility for the cohabitation of all.

In all religions, there are calls for humanity and for peace, demands to respect the dignity of the individual human being and to protect the Creation.

The fundamental endeavor of the Round Table of Religions is the promotion of the common message of peace, of tolerance and mutual respect in our city.

In this context, we place the dialogue of the religious communities on customs and traditions, the opportunity to visit each other's religious ceremonies and services, and diverse encounters to get to know each other better and to diminish potential prejudice. We are also convinced that possible dangers for our cohabitation of nations and religions have to be met preventively.

For a peaceful cooperation of religions in Stuttgart

The signatories of this manifesto agree, that Stuttgart should develop peaceful and meaningful as an international city. The diversity of languages, cultures, and religions make up the richness of our city. This richness we need to protect. The religious communities wish to make their contribution towards this goal.

The religious communities therefore commit to

  1. the strictly nonviolent resolution of conflicts;
  2. the principle that a religion can never be used as an excuse for violence;
  3. the principle that a religion is not to be abused for political purposes;
  4. promoting mutual respect and tolerance;
  5. the active protection of our democratic and constitutional state in order to fight every form of extremism, fundamentalism, nationalism, or any other inhuman ideology in Stuttgart;
  6. organizing encounters and dialogue between the different religious communities;
  7. contributing towards justice and equal living chances for people, for example in schools, at work, or in the daily life in order to enhance integration in our society.