in: Victoria Hegner / Peter-Jan Magry (eds.), Spiritualizing the city, London, New York: Routledge, 1-17
During the last decade, the concept of integration has become a leading policy objective in Germany and risen to high profile at municipal and city agendas. Within the recent inter-cultural paradigm the governance of religious diversity has become a topic in many urban integration plans. Religious and (inter-) religious actors are considered privileged allies in this context, also against the background of new forms of governance. This paper examines how religious actors and inter-religious activities are included in urban integration plans, and the rationales and types of public-private collaboration in interfaith activities. It is based on the analysis of integration concepts of two metropolitan cities in Germany’s Ruhr Area, Duisburg and Hamm, and on qualitative field work in both cities. The paper concludes that new networks between public and religious actors have effectively been established also leading to higher degrees of recognition of religious or spiritual topics and concerns. In terms of integration-related prospects, state involvement in interreligious faith networks does however not necessarily lead to adequate accommodation of religious diversity, but is likely to reinforce existing tendencies and mechanisms of exclusion.