"We most strongly condemn this deplorable act"

The Max Planck Society is deeply distressed and shocked by the terrible incident in a Dresden courthouse, in which a young Egyptian woman was fatally stabbed

July 08, 2009

The murdered woman was the wife of a doctoral student at one of our Max Planck Institutes. Her husband also sustained injuries in the incident, but is fortunately on the way to recovery. This is a terrible tragedy and our deepest sympathies go to the family of the victim.

The Public Prosecutor in Dresden has stated his belief that the attack was motivated by racism. The Max Planck Society condemns this barbaric act of mindless hatred in the strongest possible terms. We do hope, however, that this isolated act by one single individual should not dominate the image of Germany abroad or even be seen as somehow representing attitudes in Germany in general.

The fact that the attack was racially motivated is especially distressing to us, considering that the Max Planck Society is a scientific research organisation with staff members from the most various nations. Nationality and religion are of no relevance to us. About one third of the directors at our institutes have a foreign passport, and nearly one half of our doctoral students come from abroad. More than 80% of our post docs are non-German. We value Dresden as a modern city that is tolerant and open towards foreigners.

Science knows no frontiers - indeed, it cannot function any other way. For their research, Max Planck scientists and scholars are located in the most various countries around the globe. For example, Max Planck Institutes are involved in more than 2,000 collaborative projects with almost 6,000 partners in more than 100 countries worldwide. Experience tells us that it is only through combined efforts that worldwide challenges, such as global epidemics, conflicts between peoples and the threat of climate change, can be met.

"All of us are working together on better understanding this world, in creating a world in which the key conditions for combining our best efforts and engaging in the universal pursuit of knowledge are esteem for other cultures, tolerance of other religions, and respect for the ethnicity of others. The Max Planck Society is committed to the enduring support of these values and holds them to be fundamental convictions", says Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society.

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