Underlining the fact that Islam has become a part of Germany, the Council of Culture has published a dossier called Islam, Culture, Politics on how Islam is practiced and set into context in Germany. After the debates of the past months, which had been dominated by the condescending remarks of Thilo Sarrazin, publisher Olaf Zimmermann wanted to step back an provide a more nuanced view of Islam, its culture and politics. The document will be distributed at parliament, Church academies, public libraries, and also at mosques. The dossier does not only want to write about Muslims, but also incorporates public figures of the Muslim population, such as the Central Council’s chairman Aiman Mazyek, who participated in the publication
The chairman of the Protestant Church Nikolaus Schneider has criticised Islam in Germany, stating that Islam appeared “in our society unimpressed by Enlightenment and criticism of religion”. The Central Council of Muslims strongly disapproved of the remark. General Secretary Nurhan Soykan said that no one had the right to criticise a religion and to evaluate whether or not it needed Enlightenment. The Council’s chairman Aiman Mazyek expressed his understanding for the fact that Church officials saw Islam as a challenge, pointing out that Islam practiced monotheism in its purest form, cherished Jesus and Mary, but would not allow a prophet (Jesus) to be crucified – Mazyek’s interpretation being that Islam could be understood by many as an enlightened form of Christianity.
Schneider later explained that he called for an academic Islam, one that is scientifically dealt with at universities in order to study the history and also the Enlightenment as it took place in Germany, so that Islam would arrive at a historical-critical perspective on its own faith. He very much welcomes the education of imams at German universities.
December 23, 2010
Aiman Mazyek of the Central Council of Muslims has sent out a message of charity for Christmas. Christians and Muslims should see each other more as partners and allies rather than competitors, he said. Both religions share the notions of charity and mercy. Many Muslims also enjoy the peaceful quiet days over Christmas, and those married to Christians take pleasure in celebrating it in particular.
25 November 2010
As police brace themselves for a possible terrorist attack, the ruling conservatives have called on Germany’s Muslim community to root out extremists at mosques and report them to authorities.
Stefan Müller, integration spokesman for the Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union’s parliamentary group, said members of the 2,500 mosques in Germany should co-operate with anti-terrorism authorities more closely.
“In the face of the intensified situation, the mosque communities are called on to be especially watchful and keep an eye out for possible fanatics in their own ranks,” Müller said.
The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, has previously said that many Muslims in Germany feel they are under suspicion because of their faith alone. Mosques had been subject to hate mail and material damage, he said.
4 November 2010
Central Council of Muslims chairman Aiman Mazyek told Thursday’s edition of the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that people with foreign names and immigration backgrounds were often passed over for public service jobs despite having the same or even better qualifications than native German candidates.
A quota would be an appropriate way to level the playing field, he said. Germany’s police forces had already opened themselves up to immigrants, which had benefited the services – and could be improved with quotas – he said. “Why should the experiences of the police not be applied elsewhere?” Mazyek asked.
His remarks followed a national “integration summit” held on Wednesday and attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel, immigrant community leaders – including Mazyek – and state and municipal officials.
8 September 2010
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has awarded the Media Prize M100 to the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. In 2005, Westergaard had drawn a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, showing him with a bomb in his turban, which had subsequently caused major upheavals in Europe and the Islamic world. He has received death threats and has been under police protection ever since.
In her speech, Merkel recognised Westergaard’s courage and demanded the consequences of the cartoon publication to be taken as a reminder. Europe should be a place where freedom of speech is possible; “the secret of freedom is courage”, the Chancellor said.
Meanwhile, the Central Council of Muslims condemned the award. Chairman Aiman Mazyek said that such an honour is highly problematic at a time that is already charged and heated. Also the Green Party criticised the move.
Germany’s Jewish community has reacted with shock to a stone-throwing attack by Muslim children as young as 10 on a Jewish dance troupe performing at a Hanover festival, media reported Thursday.
About 30 children and youths, largely of Lebanese, Palestinian and Iranian descent, threw stones at the dancers on Sunday, shouting “Jews out!” daily Berliner Morgenpost reported. The youths were aged from 10 to 15, the paper reported. The dance troupe, named Chaverim – Hebrew for “friends” – broke off their performance after one of their members was hit in the leg by a stone and lightly injured.
Lower Saxony Integration Minister Aygül Özkan said through a spokesman she was “deeply shocked” by the incident. Charlotte Knoblauch, president of the German Jewish Council, said the incident showed “a new social provocation, which already in the past weeks is clearly visible as it hasn’t been before.” Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic feelings were evidently simmering among Muslim youths living in Germany, she said, adding that this case “saddens me especially because these anti-Semitic attitudes are encountered already in children and youths with this vehemence.”
Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, condemned the incident in the strongest terms in an interview with Spiegel Online. He called for Islamic solidarity with anyone – whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Atheist – who has suffered from injustice. Mazyek also pointed out that hatred and anti-Semitism had no place in Islam.
After a study was published two weeks ago, showing that young Muslims are more violent the more religious they are (http://www.euro-islam.info/2010/06/05/violence-among-young-muslims-increases-with-attachment-to-religion-study-finds), the Central Council of Muslim has demanded further analysis. The General Secretary Aiman Mazyek misses a serious expertise regarding the causes of the phenomenon. He believes that the study has not carefully examined the youths’ religiosity, which is often vague and not closely related to a certain faith community. The study had indeed pointed to the fact that Islam was not the root cause, but a “macho culture” that was conveyed in some traditional Muslim families.
A far-right party which is organizing pickets outside German mosques should be banned, a leading Muslim group said Tuesday. Aiman Mazyek, secretary of the Council Council of Muslims, one of four main Islamic groups in Germany, added it was intolerable that the National Democratic Party (NPD) was able to obtain state payouts. He spoke in the central city of Erfurt where the Thuringia state chapter of the far-right group had earlier announced the anti-mosque parades, triggering plans by opponents for counter-demonstrations. Mazyek spoke just days after a Muslim woman was murdered in court by a right-winger as she was seeking justice against him for insulting her for wearing a head-scarf. Germany’s main parties have hesitated to seek a legal ban on the NPD after a 2003 bid was defeated in court. Under a law granting state aid to all parties in proportion to the votes they receive, the NPD has obtained government subsidies.
A Muslim umbrella group formed in Germany last week aims to make Islam a “recognized” religion under federal law. That could mean Islamic instruction in public schools — or even fundraising through the tax system. The German-Islamic umbrella group launched last week called the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany (KRM) would like “a binding road map to put Islam on an equal footing” with Christian religions in Germany, said Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims, one of the groups represented in the new organization. “Equal footing” could lead to Islamic instruction in German public schools, or even tithing of Muslims through the German tax office — a feature of federal law that provides Christian churches in Germany an income stream. Germany’s Jews have received federal funding since 2003. Mazyek said he was looking forward to an Islamic conference in May with German Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble, where he hoped to hammer out a set of guidelines for official recognition of Islam “as quickly as possible.” The demand is far from uncontroversial, however (…) Article continues [here->http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,477438,00.html].