Islam in Germany: Government marks deep break in Islam policy


A little later, it also became clear why: The Federal Government apparently wants to break new ground in terms of integration, thereby abandoning the previous "top-down" principle for the first time.

"Mosques for Integration": deep caesura

The fact that Horst Seehofer obviously endeavored to make his intentions appear as an act of appreciation can not hide the fact that the launch of the project evaluated in the fourth phase of the German Conference on Islam (DIK) marks a deep turning point, like the conciliatory Press release issued by the Ministry of Interior on 15 November 2019.

It states: "" Mosques for Integration "helps mosque communities and their related actors in welfare and pastoral care to actively engage with their respective neighborhoods and local structures, thus making their diverse social and civil society work more visible, accessible and more inclusive German society. "

Demand for more transparency

While these lines suggest that the offers of Islamic communities in the area of ​​welfare and pastoral care were not sufficient for the comprehensive coverage of their members, Seehofer's remarks gave a completely different impression. The Minister of the Interior immediately pointed out what his "funding project" specifically meant:

"For the first time we are directly involved in the mosque communities and want to support them in concrete terms, we want to help Muslim communities become more open to activities and offerings in their respective communities (…) And conversely, non-religious offerings from mosque communities should be more open to them non-Muslim environment. "

In order to gauge the implications of this statement, it is necessary to consider its implications in the light of state Islamism, which is essentially followed by two findings. The first refers to the fact that the Federal Government has so far not addressed mosque communities directly, but only through the associations associated with them, and states that they now seem to abandon this "top-down principle". This course correction is remarkable because the cooperation with the Islamist associations has always been based on considering them as legitimate representatives of German Muslims and on their pledges to carry the concerns of politics into their communities.

Doubts about cooperation with Islamic associations

The failure of this concept, which I diagnosed a year ago on the basis of the statutes of Germany's largest Islamic association DITIB and the example of the Islamic Center Hamburg, leads to the second realization that now also the Federal Government has realized that their calculus has not worked. The initiative of the Minister of the Interior is therefore no coincidence, but the long overdue reaction to the fact that the Islamist associations have repeatedly disqualified themselves as partners through their behavior.

The turnaround that is now emerging is therefore based on a compelling statement: Instead of using themselves for opening up to the secular majority society, the Islamist associations have successfully raised their religion to a political instrument of power; In addition, they have managed to impose politics as mediators of state and Muslims. Although tentative, this competence monopoly has apparently prompted the Federal Government to break new ground.

Opening of mosques mandatory

Their plan to no longer rely blindly on the promises of the Islamist associations, but to approach directly to the individual mosques, is therefore a sensible measure, which is in the face of much too close links between politics and association Islam a veritable reprimand. Thus, the plan relentlessly reveals what has long been considered unspeakable: despite the considerable efforts that the Federal Government has invested in its cooperation with the Islamic associations, it has not been possible to open the communities associated with them for their environment.

Since this opening is apparently no longer trusted by the Islamic associations alone, it is now being examined whether it can be done by other means in the future. To this end, a total of € 7 million will be allocated over the next three years to support 50 mosques whose selection is the responsibility of independent agencies. As these grants are provided as part of a pilot project, they initially remain limited to social work, counseling and integration courses.

Although critics complain that even communities from dubious associations could benefit from the project, which, like DITIB, are controlled from abroad and have repeatedly made headlines in the past through extremist scandals, it would be premature not to take the undertaking seriously ,

Against the conservative theology of Islamic associations

Of course, it is arguable to what extent even more integration courses can make a meaningful contribution to bridging the sometimes deep trenches that still often separate the world of German mosque communities from their secular environment. However, this does not change the fact that "mosques for integration" does not have in mind strengthening Islam but its marginalization. In other words: In order to promote integration, people should no longer see each other as members of a religion, but as citizens.

It was no coincidence that Horst Seehofer emphasized in his speech that the participating mosques should emphasize their "non-religious offerings" more strongly. The fact that foreign influence on imam education is also to be weakened shows that the measure is fundamentally directed against the conservative theology of Islamic associations, which has always counteracted state integration policy.

Cooperation with Islamic associations is wrong

As welcome as the trial of new concepts for integration may be, Seehofer's initiative remains nothing more than the famous drop in the ocean, because the policy continues to rely on the support of their dubious partners.

Therefore, I venture to say that cooperation with Islamic associations is a fatal mistake, because it upgrades conservative organizations to political actors whose agenda is based on the principle of demarcation and aims to make their members primarily Muslim, not national Citizens, consider. For this reason, adherence to the previous cooperation means that the majority of Muslims in Germany, who are not bound by Islamic organizations, are to be criminally neglected.

Unlike the representatives of the Association Islam want to make believe, German Muslims form a very diverse group whose dependents by their origins, their language, their social status and their attitude to religion differ too much from each other, as opposed to a uniform Could operate politics.

Individual freedom is the solution

Instead of cooperating with reactionary organizations, which in any case only represent themselves, politics should honor the Muslim individual as their partner. Only if it succeeds to defuse the social constraints and the effects of that systematic indoctrination that the Islamic federations have been practicing for years, unrestricted by the authority given them by the German state, the individual Muslim has the opportunity to emancipate himself and his religion into the sphere of To relocate private. Therefore, it is not a strengthening of the association Islam, but the promotion of individual freedom is the order of the day.

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