Using Cultural Heritage for the Refugees: The “Multaka Project” – A Cultural Initiative for the Refugees in Berlin’s Museums

Isber Sabrine

The Syrian Refugee Crisis: the Syrian and Iraqi Refugees in Germany  

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, about 11 million Syrians have fled Syria.  After six years of war, the majority of these Syrians displaced within Syria or have sought refuge in Syria’s neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 5.5 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq while 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria. The UN estimates that only 1 in 10 Syrian refugees live in camps. The rest are struggling to settle in unfamiliar urban communities or have been forced into rural environments (UNHCR, 2019) .

The conditions in many camps are poor, especially in Jordan and Lebanon. In Jordan, the Zaatari refugee camp has become one of the largest cities in Jordan with more than 100 thousand refugees. One of the biggest problems for Syrian refugees in the countries they have fled to is finding a legal way to work: they struggle to find jobs and – as they are not allowed to work – they work illegally, accepting low salaries which are not enough to cover their most basic needs. Young Syrian refugees face an uncertain future with no real prospects. Syrian children suffer from a lack of education; thousands of Syrian children have been forced to leave school in order to help their parents. Furthermore, in many places in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, many families cannot afford transportation to get their children to school. Exacerbating the problems, Lebanon and Jordan have few resources and depend entirely on the international community to help the Syrian refugees. The situation in Turkey is slightly better: Turkey has offered susbstantial support to build twenty-two camps. However, the Syrian refugees in Turkey suffer from a language barrier which still poses a difficulty in  finding jobs.

The lack of future prospects and the desire for a better life are the key reasons why many refugees choose to flee to EU countries. More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 (more than 300 thousand of which are Syrians). According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 3,770 migrants were reported to have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2015 (BBC, 2016). The EU country that received the highest number of new asylum applications between 2014 and 2016 was Germany. According to the German Interior Ministry, between January 2015 and October 2015, 243,721 Syrian citizens entered Germany to seek asylum (The Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, 2015).. In October 2014, Germany hosted the very first conference on the Syrian refugee situation in Berlin (Supporting Syria & the Region, 2018).

The refugees in Germany are distributed across German regions according to tax revenues and total population (Katz, Noring & Garrelts, 2016). In her famous speech in August 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “We can do it”, which represents her open-door refugee policy. The public response to the refugee crisis has been impressive, as well. Many Germans have committed themselves to civil society initiatives that aid refugees arriving the country, especially when German authorities were stretched to their limits. Civic activities include the provision of basic needs, such as accommodation, information, transportation and clothing. Despite the increasing populist movements and the abuse of the refugee crisis for political agenda by some political parties in Germany, the statistics show that a large majority of Germans believe their country should be open to asylum seekers. Even in July 2015, when the inflow of asylum seekers had already increased considerably, 93 percent of the German population supported the idea of welcoming people who sought to escape war or civil conflict (Mayer, 2016). Germany was, and still is, a welcoming country for the refugees.

Cultural Heritage as a Need and Not a Luxury for the Refugees
After eight years of conflict, for many refugees, there is still no hope of returning to Syria, and one of the biggest problems that they face is the feeling of isolation in their new countries. A sense of belonging is an important need, and cultural heritage can play a crucial role in this by providing an automatic sense of unity and belonging within refugee groups as well as allowing them to better understand previous generations and the history of where they come from. During recent conflicts, the national identity in Syria and Iraq was threatened by the increasing sectarian hatred and violence, which is now prevalent. However, cultural heritage can play an important role in the reinforcement of identity and belonging. As Lowenthal (1985, pp. 224-231) confirms: “The association between heritage and identity is well established in heritage literature –material culture as heritage is assumed to provide a physical representation and reality to the ephemeral and slippery concept of identity like history, it fosters the feelings of belonging and continuity”. The representation of heritage is vital in reconnecting the Syrian and Iraqi refugees to their homelands. As Laurajane Smith (2016, p. 48) argues in her book The Uses of Heritage: “Certainly, the representational and symbolic value of heritage in constructing and giving material reality to identity is well recognized, although analysis of the way heritage is thus used is often articulated in terms of national identity”.

Developing a connection between refugees and their cultural heritage in the new host countries could make refugees feel respected, reaffirming the importance of cultural heritage as a cultural right. According to a new report on cultural rights presented at the United Nations General Assembly by Karima Bennoune (the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights): “Cultural heritage is significant in the present, both as a message from the past and as a pathway to the future. Viewed from a human rights perspective, it is important not only in itself, but also in relation to the human dimension, in particular its significance for individuals and communities and their identity development processes” (Bennoune, 2016).  Therefore, providing education on cultural heritage for the refugees is quite important, particularly with the huge destruction that cultural heritage is now experiencing due to current conflicts, as it could help refugees to have more self-esteem regarding their culture and have confidence in themselves. It was from this perspective that Multaka was born.

The Idea behind Multaka
The Syrian and Iraqi refugees who live in a city as large as Berlin can easily feel lost and alone among so many new cultures and backgrounds. Therefore, the idea behind the Multaka Project, which is a project initiated by the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum, is twofold. First, it aims to utilise the Syrian and Iraqi heritage which is already on display in the Pergamon Museum, in order to show the refugees the huge international value of their heritage. Guided tours are organised in two separate collections of the Pergamon Museum: the Museum of Islamic Art and the Museum of the Ancient Near East. The Museum of Islamic Art hosts unique exhibitions such as the Aleppo Room, which was obtained from Aleppo in 1912 by Friedrich Sarre. The room was originally in the House Wakil in Aleppo (Discover Islamic Art, n.d.). It also hosts the Mshatta Façade, which is the decorated part of the façade of the 8th century Umayyad residential palace of Qasr Mshatta, one of the Desert Castles of Jordan, in addition to hundreds of artefacts originally from Syria and Iraq. The Museum of the Ancient Near East displays objects from Assyria, Sumeria and Babylon. The main display is the famous Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way of Babylon, together with the throne room of Nebuchadenezzar II. According to Stefan Weber, the director of the Museum of Islamic Art and who is also directing the project: “The displays in the Museum of Islamic Art and the Museum of the Ancient Near East are based on the outstanding testimonies of human history principally from Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Both museums provide many narratives of the migration of cultural techniques between Europe and the Middle East, the plurality of societies or of the cultural interconnectedness in each epoch up to today” (Sabrine, 21 September 2016). It was hoped that the rich heritage of Syria and Iraq on display at the Pergamon Museum could play a fantastic role in increasing the self-esteem of the refugees in their new culture, as well as demonstrating the value that their heritage holds for the rest of the world and the important role that their culture played on the development of human history.

There is still a significant challenge in Germany regarding the integration of the refugees. The German government is providing courses in German language to help them integrate into the society and find employment. In this context, the second goal of Multaka is to help the refugees integrate into the German society by teaching them about German history and German values through the German Historical Museum. It is hoped that this will help them better understand the society in which they are now residing. The tour guides in the German Historical Museum also help refugees develop links between Germany’s cultural heritage and their own heritage. The guided tours in this museum show what Germany was like after the Second World War; in this way, the museum offers an important opportunity to reflect about wars, and post-war conditions and situations. The refugees see the ruins and the pictures of the destroyed cities in Germany during and after World War II, and they see how they are now; learning how the divided country was ultimately unified by Bismarck. The objects chosen for the tours focus on teaching the refugees about German history in order to reflect on and make a connection with the actual situation in Syria and Iraq. This reflection could give them a sense of hope for the future.

In addition to the guided tours in the Museum of Islamic Art and the Museum of the Ancient Near East of the Pergamon Museum, and German Historical Museum the Multaka project also offers guided tours in the Bode Museum which is home to two collections: the Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art, and the Münzkabinett (coins). The museum also contains paintings from the Gemäldegalerie (Painting Gallery), which are presented alongside European sculpture examples to form a dialogue between the two art forms.

This museum was chosen for Multaka as “it makes a reference to the inter-religious roots and the common origins of Islam, Judaism and Christendom. Cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean region were characterized over the centuries by religiously and ethnically plural societies, which today are under threat” (Sabrine, 21 September 2016). The museum is a significant place where refugees can learn about the tolerance and respect between these three religions as well as the values and principles that they share.

Multaka: Museum as Meeting Point – Refugees as Guides in Berlin Museums [Guides des Projekts “Multaka: Treffpunkt Museum”] © Staatliche Museen Berlin, Museum für Islamische Kunst, Photograph: Milena Schlösser.

In principle, Multaka helps to use museums as places for intercultural dialogue; it tries to find links between the refugees’ countries of origin and Germany. The invitation of refugees to participate in the workshops and special guided tours alongside Germans help them be in direct touch with the host community and create links between them.

In this sense, Multaka is a project which gives refugees the motivation to look positively to their culture of origin. It facilitates a meeting with their own history and culture. This facilitation of discovering the roots of their culture in the museums gives them self-esteem. Multaka plays an important role in encouraging the cultural participation of refugees in their new communities, and helps them become active members of society (Sabrine, 21 September 2016). 

Project Structure and Management

Multaka is an Arabic word which means ‘meeting point’; and in terms of this project, the museums become meeting points. The project started in November 2015. The main challenges were finding funding and suitable guides. However, the project quickly obtained initial funding support from the federal program “Demokratie Leben’’ (Live Democracy) of the German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth. The reaction of  the young Syrians and Iraqis (who were invited to be guides in the project) was very positive. In less than one month, the guides got the necessary training from the museum staff and started to give guided tours within the four selected museums.

Participants of a tour of the “Multaka” project in Museum für Islamische Kunst © Staatliche Museen Berlin, Museum für Islamische Kunst, Photograph: A. R. Laub.

In terms of project structure, four people manage the project. Their responsibilities are divided into several areas: the project leader is the Director of the Islamic Art Museum at the Pergamon Museum. He has legal responsibility to apply for funding, and to develop the project. Beside him are two Project Managers. Their tasks are to facilitate communication and coordination between the four museums’ educational departments; to act as a point of contact for the media; to organize workshops; to coordinate communication between the guides, including their training about the museums; and to organize the guided tours and marketing of the project. They also do financial controlling, outreach and evaluation. The fourth member of the team is the financial administrator, who is responsible for the project budget and reimbursing the guides (Freunde Museum Islamische Kunst, n.d.). The salaries of the project managers and the fees of the guides make up the most significant part of the project budget.

In 2015 and 2016, the project received grants from several German public institutions, private foundations and private donors. These included the German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth in 2015; and in 2016, the project received the second main public grant from the Federal Ministry for Culture and Media (BKM). The private foundations Schering Stiftung and the Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museums [Schering Foundation and the Foundation of the German Historical Museum] also generously supported the project. In the last 2 years, Multaka also received generous support from Alwaleed Philanthropies Foundation (Artforum, 2018) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Museum für Islamische Kunst, 2018).

The project now has 25 guides selected over two phases. The first phase was in late 2015, and included 19 guides. The second phase was in 2016, and included a further 6 guides. The guides come from diverse professional backgrounds, including architects, artists, musicians, lawyers, as well as archaeologists and conservators. The majority of them are preparing their PhD theses in Berlin. They are newcomers to Germany themselves – some has come as refugees and some as students. They have been trained by the museum educators from the Education and Outreach Departments of the Staatliche Museen and the German Historical Museum through programs that focused on the museums’ specific content and issues of didactics, and on methods of communication and dialogue. The guides were free to choose the museum they were interested in the most as well as the artefacts. The museum educators in the four museums highlighted some artefacts relevant to the refugees, and the guides then added their own interpretation to make sense of those. In 2019, the guides remain part of the project development through regular project meetings.

Multaka takes place twice a week in the four museums. The first tour is on Wednesdays, and the second is on Saturdays. The duration of the tour is around one and a half hours, and all the guided tours for the refugees are free of charge. The tours are based on dialogue between the refugees and the guides.

Reaching refugees is one of the main challenges of the project. The project team, in collaboration with the guides, primarily try to reach refugees through social media. Multaka has a Facebook page which currently has 4170 followers (Multaka Facebook page, n.d.) and a Twitter account. Another way to reach them is through promoting the project by delivering flyers in the refugee camps and language schools. Lastly, the refugees who have already participated in the tours play an important role by inviting their friends and relatives to attend the guided tours.

Starting in 2016, Multaka has also facilitated many workshops. The aim of the workshops is to provide an opportunity where refugees and locals can meet and get to know one another. The workshops focus on different subjects, such as photography, mosaic work, textiles, glasswork, writing and the representations of women in Islam and Christianity. Through these workshops, the project tries to identify the shared cultural aspects between Germans and Syrians. In these workshops, the refugees and the local German community have the opportunity to meet and exchange their ideas and experiences. During the workshops, the participants are normally accompanied by a Multaka guide. Between 2016 and 2019, Multaka was able to organize dozens of workshops (Multaka, n.d.).  

Multaka Glass workshop

© Berlin Glas .e.V

Refugees’ Feedback

In summer 2016, during different guided tours, we asked fifteen refugees some basic questions with the intent of collecting some information on both how refugees used to feel about their cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq before fleeing, and how they felt now with the conflict. We asked what they felt when they saw some of their heritage in Pergamon Museum, and how Multaka helped them learn more about the German culture and German history in the German Historical Museum. We have selected the responses of four refugees that explain why Multaka is important to them. The number of respondents is small but their accounts can give a good overview about the refugees’ connection with their heritage while also demonstrating how Multaka is helping refugees reflect on their own heritage as well as the heritage of their new host country.

Fadi is a 31 years old man from Lattakia, Syria, where – before fleeing to Germany – he worked as an electrical engineer. He said: “I just visited the national museum in Damascus, and the only archaeological site I visited in Syria was Crac des Chavaliers. There, the education on cultural heritage was very limited, and what I learned about the Syrian history was through my own efforts. There were some trips organised by schools, but the effect of those trips was very limited, and the teachers doing these trips did not explain the places comprehensively, either. The Syrian conflict has had a huge impact on the Syrian heritage; when Palmyra was destroyed, I felt that I lost something very important. It is part of my history, and the only thing that I feel proud about my country; because it is a proof showing that we have given something important to the world. Participating in Multaka gave me a chance to learn more about our rich Syrian Heritage.”

Jony is a 32 years old man from Tartous. He worked as a doctor before fleeing to Germany. He said: “In Syria, the main reason for not taking care of our cultural heritage is the lack of awareness about the importance of this heritage, and the overall ignorance of the people. I think the Syrian government did not play a good role, and did not have a strategy on that; their involvement was minimum and just for economic reasons. I remember many places suffered from vandalism; for example, if you visited the archaeological sites before the war, you could see that the local people had written their names on the walls. Even during the war, the government could have played a more active role to transport the important objects to safe places. When I visited the German Historical Museum I felt sad and asked myself why we did not have museums like that; why we did not care about our rich cultural heritage. Visiting the German Museum was a great opportunity to know more about Germany and the Germans.”

Muhamad is a 47 years old man from Idleb, where he used to work as an archaeologist in the Museum of Maarat al Numan before fleeing to Germany. He said: “The number of Syrians who visited the museums was very small, and the majority of the visitors were students and foreign groups; even the people from the city of Maart al Numan did not visit the museum. The students normally came to the museum accompanied by teachers who explained few things about the museum. The local people always visited the archaeological sites but their visit was not cultural; it was more of a recreational activity, especially in spring, because the region of Idleb is very nice. Unfortunately, the normal people who visited those sites were not curious about learning the history and the functions of those sites. The only interested people were the ones who had sort of an education. As an archaeologist visiting the Pergamon Museum, I feel very proud and happy that a lot of the artefacts in this museum are from Syria. It is a fantastic feeling when I see people from all around the world coming to see those artefacts. As an archaeologist, I hope that Germany, who has conserved this heritage for more than a hundred years, will play an important role in the restoration and reconstruction works in Syria when the war is over. Pergamon Museum offers you a different perspective about Syria. In Pergamon Museum, it is represented as the birthplace of the first civilizations and tolerance, and not as a country of wars. The only thing that I brought with me from Syria is my ID card as an archaeologist, which is a very important symbolic thing for me”.

Said is a 34 years old man from Aleppo, where he worked as a merchant before fleeing to Germany. Said is very active in Multaka; he has participated in many tours in the four museums. He said: “I was very happy to discover that in Berlin, there is a place that represents Aleppo. It is the Aleppo room. Seeing this room in Pergamon always makes me remember how our life was in Aleppo, how we were very happy in our old city. It helps me forget all the destruction that happened to our nice city. I miss Aleppo a lot, even the small things like going out to eat (beans or liver) in the old city, or going to the square in front the citadel and drinking something, even just walking through the market of Aleppo. In the German Historical Museum I saw how Berlin and Dresden were destroyed. The destruction of Berlin and Dresden makes me reflect on my own city, and gives me hope that Aleppo will one day go back to its former days like Berlin and Dresden. The Syrians who are now in Germany as refugees have a great opportunity now to learn and develop their capacities in order to go back to Syria and help reconstruct the country as the Germans did in the past; we are really lucky to be here now”.

The selected sample is very diverse; the participants, who used to have different careers in Syria before fleeing to Germany, include an electrical engineer, a doctor, an archaeologist and a merchant. Their opinions demonstrate various reflections on Syria’s cultural heritage and also on the Multaka project. The statements of the first participant Fadi provides an important insight about the situation of Syria’s cultural heritage before the conflict. Fadi’s statements confirm the lack of education in Syria regarding cultural heritage. The education system in Syria uses  only a number ofmaterials when it comes to cultural heritage education. Syrian students learn about cultural heritage through limited school history books, and the books concentrate almost exclusively on Arab history after the advent of Islam (Loosly, 2005, p. 590). The Ministry of Education organises school trips to museums and archaeological sites; however, these trips usually lack adequate guides who know the sites, which limits the trips’ educational value. Syrian museums did not have educational departments, either and they did not contribute to supporting cultural heritage education; their role was almost absent. The only museum that had an educational role was the National Museum of Damascus, which carried out some activities related to cultural heritage education for local primary schools. The second and third participants Joni and Muhamad gave very important insights on how Syrian people were so far detached from their cultural heritage; both of them confirmed that local Syrian communities did not visit museums and archaeological sites. The amount of local visitors going to the museums before the Syrian conflict was very small; even with the free entrance for Syrians, the majority of visitors were foreign tourists (Zobler 2011, p. 180). Both of them also talked about how important it is that the locals visited the museums and the archaeological sites. The participants described how Multaka was helping to fill a gap for connecting Syrians to their heritage. Through the Syrian collections in the Museum of Islamic Art and the Museum of the Ancient Near East, the Syrian refugees get the opportunity to learn about archaeological sites such as Tell Halaf, Mari, Ebla as well as many other archaeological sites in their country. Furthermore, through the Multaka project, these museums are becoming places where the Syrian refugees feel proud about their cultural heritage with all the people from around the world visiting the museums and seeing their heritage.

The destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage during the conflict is well reflected in the interviews, through the accounts of these four participants. They have expressed the pain of this destruction. Syrian refugees continue their efforts to revive their heritage not only in Germany, but also in other countries. In Zaatari refugee camps in Jordan, refugees recreated 12 of Syria’s landmarks in miniature. Resources were scarce; they used whatever materials they could find: local basalt rock, polystyrene, cement, MDF, and even wooden kebab skewers. Through exhibitions in the camp, the project has helped reconnect refugees with their own cultural heritage. For tens of thousands of children in Zaatari, many of whom have little or no memory of Syria, this has been their first opportunity to see these famous landmarks (Dunmore, 2016). 

Through the visits to the German Historical Museum the participants have expressed their respect towards German history, especially the period after World War II, in which the Germans where able to rebuild their country after the war. The second and fourth participants belive that Germany can help in the reconstruction and restoration of Syria’s cultural heritage. Since 2013, Germany has been helping in the protection of Syria’s cultural heritage through the Museum of Islamic Art and the German Archaeological Insitute, which started the Syrian Heritage Archive Project. As part of this project, they carry out works to digitize and archive photo collections and research data on Syria as well as documenting and making damage assessment for the sites and historic monuments affected by the conflict. (Syrian Heritage Archive Project, n.d). In addition to the Syrian Heritage Archive Project, there is another German project called Stunde Null Project, which focuses on “A Future after the Crisis”. It was launched by the Archaeological Heritage Network (ArcHerNet) in 2016, and aims to support capacity building of experts and communities for safeguarding the cultural heritage in Syria and the rest of the region; and hopes to enhance coordination in post-conflict Syria. This project supports students, heritage experts and future decision makers of Syria and the region; and enables them to protect their heritage and develop a plan for its reconstruction after the war (ArcHerNet, n.d.). Although our sample of participants is small, it clearly highlights the importance of the Multaka initiative for the refugees, and confirms the need for using culture to help refugees discover their new country.

Multaka’s Impact on Museology     

Over the last years, the project has received strong interest in both international and German media. It was featured in many TV reports, including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, ZDF, and others. In addition to the TV reports, many international and German newspapers wrote articles about the project, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, the Art Newspaper, NPQ, and others.

The media coverage has been positive with Multaka being presented as a project which helps refugees integrate into the German society. For example, the Art Newspaper reported that “Berlin’s museums use culture as a means of integration for refugees – In the Multaka project, refugees lead guided museum tours for others displaced from Syria and Iraq”.

Multaka won several awards and prizes in the last 4 years. The first one is a special prize for projects on the cultural participation of refugees; the project was selected as one of the best cultural projects for the refugees in Germany. It received this award from the German Ministry of Culture in May 2016. In November 2016, Multaka was selected as the best cultural project in Germany in the reception event organized by Deutschland Land der Ideen in the towers of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt am Main. The third prize came in October 2017. It was the Zenith Photo Award, and Multaka was selected from among 53 projects. The fourth prize was the Heritage & Museum Award in 2018; Multaka was awarded a special recognition under the title “Syria Initiative –Museum as a Mediator of Shared Heritage”.

In recent years, the Multaka project has inspired several other museums to organize tours by and for the refugees. In Oxford, the Pitt Rivers Museum and the History of Science Museum has adopted Multaka jointly. The History of Science Museum has trained refugees to guide tours for its astronomical tools collection and other Arab objects (History of Science Museum, n.d.). Multaka at the Pitt Rivers Museum focuses on the museum’s recent acquisition of textiles from the Middle East. At the time of writing this article, the refugees are co-curating an exhibition based on the collection of textiles, which will open in April 2019 (Pitt River Museum, n.d.). Another museum inspired by Multaka is the Bern Historical Museum. The museum offers tours where visitors can meet people with refugee backgrounds who have been trained as museum guides. The tours given by these refugee guides offer visitors new perspectives on current world events. The guides are from different countries such as Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

The Penn Museum in Philadelphia, USA is another museum inspired by Multaka. The museum offers tours by Syrian and Iraqi refugee guides. The project here is called Global Guide Public, and it first started in the Middle East Galleries of the museum. However, in the fall of 2019, the museum will also start offering tours with the same concept in its Mexico and Central America Gallery and Africa Galleries. The tours in the Middle East Galleries are available in English and Arabic (Penn Museum, n.d.).

Multaka and other projects inspired by Multaka in the UK, Switzerland and USA demonstrate that museums can play an important role in critical periods such as the current refugee crisis. Multaka and its partner projects are helping to raise awareness among local people, immigrants and refugees about the importance of cultural heritage to create bridges between different cultures. The Multaka project has played an important role in changing the classical image of museums, and has confirmed that museums can be social actors in a society.

Final Words
Within four years, the Multaka project facilitated hundreds of refugee visits to Berlin’s Museums, and helped refugees learn more about their host country. The project has become a real meeting point: hundreds of Germans have come together with refugees and participated in the tours with them. They listened to the guides even though they did not understand Arabic. Multaka has proved that cultural heritage is an important tool for supporting people who lost everything, and that culture is a necessity during people’s worst times.

Multaka has shown that museums can be active places for responding to the crises that societies face. The museums that participated in the project have been transformed into real spaces for inclusion. Multaka has proven the need for utilising culture in order to build respect, peace and appreciation towards newcomers in the European society, who are nowadays facing the movement of populist parties that are trying to spread fear about refugees and their culture. The adoption of Multaka by other museums in different European countries shows the importance of acting together regarding the refugee crisis in Europe.

Multaka has also showed that the refugees are able to integrate and be a part of the German society. The motivating ideas behind Multaka will continue to support refugees against their fears of transformation of their culture. These ideas will confirm that Germany is a country of respect and tolerance where refugees can make a new home.

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the guides in the project and to all the museum staff who made Multaka a reality. 

I would also like to express my sincerest gratitude to Professor Stefan Weber, the Director of the Museum of Islamic Art, who adopted Multaka from the beginning as a project in the Museum of Islamic Art. I am also very thankful to Dr Emma Cunliffe for her comments on this article.


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By muratdevres

Academic Coordinator of the project Rememberings

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