Germany’s State-Run Schools to Teach Islam

A government-sponsored Islam Conference aimed at fostering the integration of Germany’s Muslims agreed to allow public schools to introduce religion classes on Islam in German. The third official Islam Conference held in Berlin on Thursday, March 13, agreed on adding Islam to the school curriculum in public schools amid heated debate and controversy about Muslims embracing Western values and the acceptance of Muslim immigrants in Germany. “In the not too far future, we — where there’s wish and need for it — will have Islam religion classes at German schools,” German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who initiated the conference, told journalists. Schaeuble said the conference had been “very drawn-out and painful” and added that the meetings would continue beyond 2009. Plans hobbled by lack of teachers. Ahead of the conference, Schaeuble said religion classes on Islam would help deter parents from sending their children to informal religious lessons taught by instructors who had not been vetted by the state. “We’re going up against hate preachers any way we can,” Schaeuble said Thursday in an interview with Stern Online. “With Islam religion classes, we’d create competition.”