Dispute about Islamic theology

March 6, 2014

 

The public dispute about Islamic theology at German Universities and the Islamic theologist Professor Mouhanad Khorchide at the University of Münster has attracted the attention of the wider public. Since 2010, Islamic theology has been established at different German Universities in Münster/Osnabrück in Frankfurt/Gießen und Erlangen/Nürnberg.

Two conflicts have been arousing the issue of Islamic theology. First, the dispute between the Center for Islamic theology at the University of Münster and Islamic associations began in 2011, when the Center proposed different Islam experts for its science council and advisory board. Many of these candidates were dismissed by the Islamic associations. While some candidates of the Islamic associations were rejected, as the Federal Ministry of Interior assessed them inappropriate. In practice, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution assessed one of the candidates proposed by the Islamic Community – Milli Görüs as extremist.

The second conflict aroused about the person Mouhanad Khorchide. Having approved his engagement, Islamic associations rejected Khorchide´s employment at the Center, criticizing him for his remarks in favor of a liberal Islam. According to Engin Karahan, a representative of the Islam council, there is no trust left between Professor Khorchide and the Islamic associations. Thus, it would not be legitimate to continue his engagement at the University. It would be senseless for the University of Münster to offer Islamic theology without the cooperation with Islamic associations.

The coordination council of Muslims assessed the work of Khorchide as “not scientific enough”. Other theologists such as Professor Bernhard Uhde from the University of Freiburg called criticized the assessment of the coordination council of Muslims as dilettantish and an evidence for the power clash between Turkish associations and other Muslims.

Serda Günes, an Islam scientist from the University of Frankfurt believes the schools of Islamic theology processing a period of maturing. Islamic associations would not be able to respond to normative questions as solid and confident as churches would do. Therefore, they would try to compensate this lack with theological views, reacting irritated when being challenged by antagonizing positions.

 

Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/islamische-theologie-streit-in-muenster-um-mouhanad-khorchide-a-956587.html#

 

Dispute about Islamic theology

March 6, 2014

 

The public dispute about Islamic theology at German Universities and the Islamic theologist Professor Mouhanad Khorchide at the University of Münster has attracted the attention of the wider public. Since 2010, Islamic theology has been established at different German Universities in Münster/Osnabrück in Frankfurt/Gießen und Erlangen/Nürnberg.

Two conflicts have been arousing the issue of Islamic theology. First, the dispute between the Center for Islamic theology at the University of Münster and Islamic associations began in 2011, when the Center proposed different Islam experts for its science council and advisory board. Many of these candidates were dismissed by the Islamic associations. While some candidates of the Islamic associations were rejected, as the Federal Ministry of Interior assessed them inappropriate. In practice, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution assessed one of the candidates proposed by the Islamic Community – Milli Görüs as extremist.

The second conflict aroused about the person Mouhanad Khorchide. Having approved his engagement, Islamic associations rejected Khorchide´s employment at the Center, criticizing him for his remarks in favor of a liberal Islam. According to Engin Karahan, a representative of the Islam council, there is no trust left between Professor Khorchide and the Islamic associations. Thus, it would not be legitimate to continue his engagement at the University. It would be senseless for the University of Münster to offer Islamic theology without the cooperation with Islamic associations.

The coordination council of Muslims assessed the work of Khorchide as “not scientific enough”. Other theologists such as Professor Bernhard Uhde from the University of Freiburg called criticized the assessment of the coordination council of Muslims as dilettantish and an evidence for the power clash between Turkish associations and other Muslims.

Serda Günes, an Islam scientist from the University of Frankfurt believes the schools of Islamic theology processing a period of maturing. Islamic associations would not be able to respond to normative questions as solid and confident as churches would do. Therefore, they would try to compensate this lack with theological views, reacting irritated when being challenged by antagonizing positions.

 

Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/islamische-theologie-streit-in-muenster-um-mouhanad-khorchide-a-956587.html#

 

Salafi bombing attempt in Bonn

May 22

 

The German Federal Office for Criminal Investigation has found a DNA track belonging to the Salafi Marco G. He has been suspected for planning and executing a bomb attempt at the central station of the city of Bonn in Fall 2012. However the attempt failed. There is little information about the 25 years old Marco G. who comes from Oldenburg, a small city in North Germany. It is said that Marco G. converted to Islam a few years ago and speaks perfectly Arabic.

Aspiring SPD Vice-Chairwoman Distances herself from Radical-Islamic Brothers

30.10.2011

Aydan Özoguz, MP and aspiring vice-chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has distanced herself from her radical Islamic brothers. Yavuz and Gürhan Özoguz  run the anti-Israel and Pro-Iranian internet portal “Muslim-Markt” and were observed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution for several years. Özoguz, who is hoping to the first chairwoman of the SPD with Turkish origins, wants to be seen and judged for who she is, independent of her brothers.

Integration Course for Imams

28.06.2011
Ten Turkish Imams completed their 10-months training at the Goethe-Institute in Göttingen (Lower Saxony) on Monday (27.06.2011). The training was part of the integration project “imams for Germany”, which is funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Turkish-Islamic Union (DITIB). As foreign imams are often criticised for their lack of German language skills, a particular focus of the training was on language acquisition. Furthermore, the imams received information about life in Germany and German society, to better understand and advise Muslims in Germany.

Anti-Terrorism Hotline Proves to Be Unsuccessful

26.05.2011

In July 2010, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution initiated the project “Hatif”, a hotline to support those who want to put Islamist extremism behind them. Even before its launch, experts on Islam and security matters voiced their concerns both about the programme itself as well as the fact that it is run by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Almost a year after its initiation, the hotline has not had any success in fighting violent-prone Islamism in Germany. The programme is therefore now extended and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is hoping that imams will play a more active role in the de-radicalisation process in Germany.

 

Terror Threat Still High in Germany, Intelligence Chief Says

18 February 2011

Despite Germany’s recent easing of anti-terror measures, the head of the country’s domestic intelligence service said in an interview published on Friday that the terror threat is still serious.

“In Germany and abroad there are people who are ready and able to carry out attacks,” said Heinz Fromm, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or Verfassungsschutz, in an interview with the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.

He said jihadist groups have not abandoned their agenda, even though the heightened security measures put in place last year had possibly hindered their plans.

Germany launches HATIF, an opt-out programme for Islamists

13 August 2010

With HATIF, the first opt-out programme for Islamists, the German
Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution aims to help those
who want to leave the militant Islamist milieu. Although this new
approach has been broadly welcomed, some doubts remain over its
potential efficacy.

Through HATIF, which is the Arab term for telephone and also the
abbreviation in German for “Heraus Aus Terrorismus und Islamistischem
Fanatismus” (or “leaving terrorism and Islamist fanaticism”), anyone
wanting to turn their back on the extremist milieu or their concerned
relatives and acquaintances can contact the BfV directly via a telephone
hotline or via email to receive support in their efforts to do so.

Of course there are many voices who doubt the success of HATIF.
Questions range from who is supposed to be calling, whether someone in
that situation would trust the authorities, and if this is the right
measure to help former Islamists, so the success will have to be proven
in the future.

Muslimische Jugend in Deutschland (MJD) / Muslim Youth in Germany

The youth organisation Muslimische Jugend in Deutschland (MJD)/Muslim Youth in Germany was founded in 1994 and has gained popularity in recent year especially among the very religious of young Muslims. The organisation has local groups (so called Lokalkreise) in many German cities. On average, the around 900 registered members are well educated and between 13 and 30 years old, but the organisation explicitly addresses all Muslims regardless of nationality and background. On their website, the MJD describe themselves as “multicultural”, “Islamic” and “hip”.

Each year, around 1,000 young Muslims participate in the annual meeting, which offers a wide range of activities: A rap workshop, origami class and Quran reading as well as debates with representatives from Greenpeace (in 2008) or with a member of the Central Council of Jews (in 2009).

The MJD is under observation of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, who accuse it of having personal and organisational links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Germany and Europe. For this reason, the Ministry of Family Affairs and Youth cut their funding towards the MJD in 2003. In the past years, the Muslim youth organisation has tried to regain the confidence for example by incorporating non-Islamic civil actors such as for interreligious dialogue.

But discussion on the organisation’s youth work continues. Indeed, the MJD reaches out to a young and religious audience that does not feel represented by conventional youth work and neither by the classic mosque communities. But their positions touch upon moderately Islamist views: Many of the MJD’s events are gender segregated and religious commands are usually interpreted in the narrow framework of traditional Islamic scholars. Critics therefore accuse the MJD of uniformity and question whether the organisation helps to integrate young Muslims into the German society or whether it actually prevents this.

Muslim youth in Germany answers back

The organisation of Muslim youth in Germany (MJD) is fighting allegations of contradicting the principles of the free democratic basic order. The organisation is under surveillance by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and has been mentioned in its reports in a few German states since 2007. The youth organisation rejects all allegations and points out that all their activities and organisational structure are made transparent. MJD chairman Hischam Abul Ola now considers taking legal action.