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Swiss writer initiates cultural dialogue with Iran

Adolf Muschg has been promoting dialogue between different cultures Keystone Archive

The Swiss author Adolf Muschg has visited Iran to take part in a "dialogue between civilisations" organised by the Swiss embassy in Teheran.

Muschg, who was accompanied by the German and Austrian writers, Hans Magnus and Raoul Schrott, had proposed the series of meetings last year, long before the events triggered by the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

But he told the Swiss News Agency that the dialogue had taken on a “particular resonance” as a result of the attacks and the subsequent military action taken against the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan.

The US-led air raids, Muschg said, were a matter of serious concern for the Iranian officials and writers he had met, adding that they were worried about the implications for society in Iran.

During his visit, the Swiss author said he had discussions with Iranian writers and representatives of the Teheran authorities on the place of religion in society, the role of language and questions relating to translations, in the context of a better understanding between cultures.

He added that his hosts had drawn particular attention to the writings of the poet Hafiz, whose impact on Iranian culture was still huge more than 600 years after his death. According to Muschg, no writer – not even Shakespeare – could be compared with Hafiz. Apparently his influence is acknowledged even today by Iranian politicians.

Muschg, who was born near Zurich in 1934, has held a number of senior academic posts and has served on several Swiss federal commissions. His works have been translated into many languages.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR