The Islamic Ahmadiyya community has inaugurated two minarets for the Bait-ul-Rasheed-mosque in Hamburg-Schnelsen, a district of the North German city. Both minarets are 14 meters high and visible.
Mirza Masroor Ahmad, head of the Ahmadiyya community in London attended the ceremony. Also, representatives of the Christian and Jewish community of Hamburg, members of the Senate of Hamburg and members of the German parliaments participated at the ceremony.
During his speech, Mirza Masroor Ahmad called Muslims to maintain their loyalty to the State. Unlike other German cities, the construction of the Ahmadiyya mosque was not accompanied by protests. The mosque is open to Muslim and non-Muslim Germans. Asif Malik, speaker of the Ahmadiyya community in Hamburg, expressed the relevance of transparence for the community to decrease fear and mistrust toward Muslims.
The State of Hamburg, Muslim associations and the Alawite community have signed a treaty. They agree to implement and recognize religious-related holidays, including school holidays, religious education and burial rituals for Muslims.
The State of Hamburg guarantees three official holidays: Eid ad-Adha, Ramadan and Ashura. Muslim teachers will be allowed to teach religious education, once they have passed the state exam and given that the course is cross-confessional. The equality of men and women is a premise.
The involved parts, other than the State of Hamburg, are: the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion (Ditib), the Council of Islamic communities (Schura), the association for Islamic Culture centers (VIKZ) and as the Alawites community of Germany. The three associations represent approximately 130 000 Muslims in Hamburg. Approximately, 50 000 Alawites live in Hamburg.
The chairman of the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion in Hamburg Dr. Zekeriya Altuğ emphasized the importance of the treaty as a historical day for Muslims in Hamburg and Germany. The Muslim community would be hopeful to receive the full support of all political institutions. This treaty would express the diversity of Muslim life in Hamburg.
The Federal chairman of the Alawite community Hüseyin Mat emphasized the importance of this treaty in recognizing the Alawite community. Germany should be dignified for recognizing the Alawite community and their rights as a religious minority. In contrast to Germany, the Turkish government should be ashamed. Turkey would still repress Alawites and force them to assimilate.
After three years of negotiations with Muslim associations, the State of Hamburg has agreed to implement and recognize religious-related holidays, including school holidays, religious education and burial rituals.
Unlike Christians churches, Muslim mosques and associations are not recognized as corporations by public law. However, the State of Hamburg has stated it will guarantee three official holidays: Eid ad-Adha, Ramadan and Ashura. Muslim teachers will be allowed to teach religious education, once they have passed the state exam and given that the course is cross-confessional. It is not clear whether women wearing a headscarf will be allowed to teach.
The involved parts, other than the State of Hamburg, are: the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion (Ditib), the Council of Islamic communities (Schura), the association for Islamic Culture centers (VIKZ) and as the Alawites community of Germany. The three associations represent approximately 130 000 Muslims in Hamburg.
Daniel Adin, a Schura representative, spoke about an important step towards the institutional recogntion of Islam in Germany. Murat Pirildar (VIKZ) said that the treaty would strengthen the participation of Muslims in German society. Aziz Alsandemir, representative of the Alawite community, emphasized that the rights, which would be granted to Alawaites in Hamburg are still denied to them in Turkey. Approximately, 50 000 Alawites live in Hamburg.
Many intelligence officials in Germany are baffled by the political response to the Salafist movement. As far as they are concerned, there is too much populism, not enough strategic thinking, and ineffective communication to boot. Albrecht Metzger reports.
At 6 a.m. on 14 June, a hundred-strong police unit advanced on the Millatu Ibrahim Mosque in Solingen and cleared the house of worship. Just a few hours later, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich announced a ban on the eponymous association, whose members had expressed open allegiance to al-Qaeda, and had its Internet site removed from the web.
Abu Usama al-Gharib, who until a few months ago was a preacher at the mosque and is now thought to be in Egypt, posted an immediate reaction on his blog: “Until you believe in Allah alone there will clearly only be ENMITY AND HATRED FOREVER between you and us. You can’t ban Millatu Ibrahim. Because we carry Millatu Ibrahim in our hearts. Victory or martyrdom.”
The Islamic extremists have since fallen silent. But for how long? “The confrontation with Salafism has only just begun,” says Guido Steinberg, a specialist in terrorism at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. “Millatu Ibrahim has openly issued propaganda for al-Qaeda. Dealing with the Salafists who advocate jihad but don’t express this publicly is much more difficult.”
Selim Reid, a 24-year old man from Norderstedt, near Hamburg, Germany, has started an online service targeted towards Germany’s Muslim population, which provides gender-segregated rides. The idea for the service is based on the same principle as another popular German website, which is dedicated to arranging shared car rides. The implementation of the new site, called Muslimtaxi.de, was inspired my many Muslims’ bad ride-sharing experiences. Since it was started last year, the website has attracted a great deal of criticism: Reid has been accused of trying to create structures of a parallel society and working against integration efforts. However, people do not have to be a Muslim to use the service; the main idea that drivers can only transport members of the same sex.
09./ 12./ 13.01.2012
Noura A. , a Muslim business woman in Hamburg/ Harburg, is planning on opening the first “Islamic Shopping Center” in a vacant property that was previously used as a restaurant. She is already advertising for business partners who want to rent parts of the property – and focuses exclusively on Muslim partners. Her plans have already caused debate amongst Hamburg’s politicians and business people, who feel that an exclusively Islamic shopping centre is not supporting the integration process. Furthermore, it needs to be checked whether Noura A.’s plans constitute a breach of the anti-discrimination law.
On Wednesday, the German Ministry for Family Affairs presented the findings of its first study on forced marriage in Germany – which brought about alarming results. The study was commissioned by the Ministry and conducted by the women’s rights organisation Terres des Femmes and the Hamburg-based Lawaetz Foundation. It is based on information provided by more than 800 consultation clinics across the country for people who are either threatened or affected by forced marriages. According to the information provided by these clinics, they registered roughly 3400 cases of forced marriages in 2008 – and these numbers only reflect those that tried to seek help; the actual number of forced marriages is expected to be much higher. The vast majority of these cases (95%) affected women; approximately 30% of them were 17 years or younger, ca. 40% of them were between 18 and 21 years old. Furthermore, most of those affected (roughly 60%) have an immigration background and 83.4% come from Muslim families. Family Minister Kristina Schröder reminded that forced marriages were a statutory offense in Germany; yet, she also acknowledged that ‘the reality is more complicated than a flick through the law book may lead one to believe’ (DW).
Due to the over-representation of migrant families in the findings, Schröder handed the study over to Maria Böhmer, the government’s commissioner for integration. Böhmer is now developing strategies to tackle forced marriages; she wants to make schools more aware of the problem and, once again, stresses the need to develop migrants’ language skills, as language is key for a self-confident, freely-chosen life, independent of parents. Schröder announced the introduction of a national telephone hotline for victims of violence or forced marriage. The opposition criticized these measures as merely symbolic; most of them will not be implemented in practice until the end of 2012 and, therefore, not offer immediate help to those affected.
Germany’s best known Islamic cleric, Pierre Vogel, delivered a pro-Islam speech in front of approximately 1100 sympathizers in Hamburg on Saturday, July 9th. Vogel is a Salafi-Muslim who is known for his strict (and fundamentalist) interpretation of Islam, his rejection of liberal ideals and religious diversity, as well as his sympathy for former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (as reported earlier). Unlike other cities or even countries (e.g. Vogel is forbidden to enter Switzerland and the city of Koblenz banned him from publicly speaking earlier this year), the city of Hamburg did not prohibit Vogel’s speech last week. However, prior to the event, which Vogel had advertised via various media sources, the Police imposed a number of specific conditions, such as restrictions on completely covering up and the separation of sexes.
For several hours, Vogel talked on an improvised “stage” on the back of a truck about the role (and oppression) of women in Islam, the hijab and niqab, as well as the German army’s mission in Afghanistan. After he had finished his speech, seven sympathizers came up to the stage and converted to Islam, which is indicative of Vogel’s charismatic appeal.
The University of Hamburg established a professorship for Islamic Studies and Islamic Theology at the Academy of World Religions. In the fall of 2011, Katajan Amirpur (40), a German of Iranian origin who has previously worked at the University of Zurich, will take up the professorship in Hamburg. The University honoured Amirpur as an excellent academic in the area of innovative approaches to Islamic Theology. The Academic of World Religions, which was implemented in 2010, focuses especially on religious and cultural diversity.
16 September 2010
After months of negotiations between Berlin and Washington, two former inmates of the Guantanamo prison arrived in Germany on Thursday. German officials hope to swiftly integrate them into society. A spokesman for the Hamburg government confirmed that Ahmed Mohammed al-Shurfa, a stateless man of Palestinian descent born in Saudi Arabia, had arrived in the northern German port city.
Later on Thursday, a second former Guantanamo prisoner — 36-year-old Mahmoud Salim al-Ali of Syria — arrived in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in central-western Germany, an official with the state’s Interior Ministry said. “According to our knowledge, he does not pose any threat,2 a spokesman said. “We haven’t brought a sleeper into our country,” he said, referring to the phenomenon of potential terrorists like the 9/11 cell that infiltrate society and appear to be normal residents before they are activated.
Earlier this year, Germany said it was prepared to host two former inmates from the Guantanamo prison. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the decision had been made for “humanitarian reasons.” “I’m not only the federal interior minister, but also a human being and a Christian,” the politician, who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, said as he announced his decision in July.