October 3rd marked the anniversary of the German reunification day. Since 1997, Muslim communities take advantage of this event to open mosques and communities to the public. The event is organized by the coordination council of Muslims. This year’s celebrations were affected by the refugee crisis, which has become the dominant discourse in German political life.
In Mühlheim (North Rhine-Westphalia) the German State with the highest density of Muslim population, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat community and the Fatih-mosque of Mülheim expressed their willing to help refugees. According to Zulfiqar Ahmad, representative of the Ahmadiyya community, voluntary work is part of their contribution to the community. This year’s motto “young Muslims in Germany – motivated, engaged, active” and the plan for a charity walk in 2016 emphasize the relevance of the refugee topic for Ahmadiyya community. Tahir Ahmad Shams Khan, chair of the Ahmadiyya community emphasized the will of his organization to participate in integration efforts of refugees across Germany.
The Fatih mosque of Mulheim has been involved in collecting and allocating donations for Muslim refugees, says Süleyman Baytekin, vice chair of the Turkish Islamic Union and Institute for Religion (DITIB e.V.). The mosque, currently under construction, will be rearranged to offer space and shelter to refugees. Baytekin expressed the will of the community to offer German language courses to the refugees to faciliate their “integration”.
Additionally, Ayman Mazyek, chair of the central council of Muslims expressed some expectations towards Muslim refugees. They need to respect the rules of the receiving country. i.e. Germany would not be the place for religious intolerance and should not be abused to import Middle Eastern conflicts. According to Mazyek, Muslim refugees should receive support to integrate quickly by learning the German language and accessing the labor market. Being Muslim and German should not be seen as a contradiction. Nurhan Soykan, speaker of the coordination council of Muslims demanded more professionalism within the institutional structures of Muslim associations by documenting and keeping track of Muslim voluntary civic engagement.