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Thursday, 24 Sept 2020

Plans for a Christian-Muslim House of Peace in Central Africa

The architecture exhibition "Religions Build for Peace - A House of Peace and Religions for Central Africa" was opened with numerous guests despite corona conditions in the Berlin Parochial Church. The exhibition shows 24 designs and a dozen models by students of the Bauhaus University Weimar and the EAMAU College in Lomé/Togo, who spent months studying the social situation in the Central African Republic, the possibilities of understanding in a country at war and the architectural traditions there. But it also shows a vision, a symbol of hope coming from the religions for a country torn apart by fighting and terror.

The following video provides an overview of the project and impressions of visitors at the vernissage:




Women and men, whether Catholic, Muslim or Protestant, have come together in Central Africa across all cultural and religious divides and organized themselves in the inter-religious peace platform PCRC in the capital Bangui. "They are heroes," said Imam Kadir Sanci of the House of One. "They are bringing forward the dialogue in a place where talking to each other is sometimes very difficult and weapons are used again and again." The clergy of the Platform PCRC, including Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga and Imam Layama Kobine, have been awarded the Aachen Peace Prize 2015 for their courageous and selfless commitment. Unfortunately they were not able to attend the opening in Berlin as due to Corona ristrictions the government in Bangui has imposed a travel ban.

Like Jews, Christians and Muslims in the House of One in Germany, Christians and Muslims in Central Africa are trying to positively influence developments in their society as peace actors. Roland Stolte, Administrative Director of the House of One, said: "The process of building together in Berlin is a special, particularly intensive form of interreligious dialogue. Moreover, cooperation in the sense of the House of One also meant initiating or accompanying such interreligious processes elsewhere. Since 2016, the House has been closely linked to the interreligious platform PCRC in Bangui. This cooperation once again illustrates the international impact of the Berlin religious project.

The joint creation of protected spaces connects in a particularly intensive way. "A space for understanding is created, in which peace is explicitly at stake alongside the religions," said architect Johannes Kuehn of the Bauhaus University Weimar. As in Berlin with the House of One, the multi-religious building in Bangui is also to be built in an independent, locally influenced architectural forms. This is also shown by the student designs, which will be on display in the Parochialkirche in Berlin until October 6, 2020.

The designs will form the basis for the next important step next year, when an architecture competition will be launched throughout Africa.


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