The University of Osnabrueck, which implemented the first programme at German universities to train imams in October 2010, celebrated the 30 participants’ successful completion of the two-semester course last week. The key agenda of the course is to train imams in Germany (who are predominantly from Turkey) in the German language as well as ways of preaching Islam that are consistent with Germany’s liberal democratic order and values such as religious freedom and tolerance. Being able to speak the German language facilitates better interaction with young Muslims in Germany – the group most prone to radicalisation and extremism. In addition, participation in the course also has symbolic meaning, as imams demonstrate their willingness to integrate.
6 August 2010
In his new book, Rauf Ceylan reports on the daily lives of imams in
Germany. According to the professor for religious studies, imams are the
key to a new Islam. At first glance, it seems that there is no other
topic as well-trodden as this one — imams in Germany. Even those with
absolutely no interest in the subject have already been exposed to
countless reports on “preachers of hate,” while the media, with its
fondness for repetition, has portrayed imams as an obstacle to
integration, although within their communities, they are regarded as
There is nothing particularly new about the subject of Rauf Ceylan’s
latest book (“Die Prediger des Islam”, i.e. “The Preachers of Islam”),
except, however, his approach. Rauf Ceylan is the first to have gone to
the trouble of simply searching out for himself those people about who
so much has been spoken.
A new study reveals a worrying trend among young Muslims: violence increases with growing attachment to Islam. With increasing religiosity, the acceptance of “macho cultures” and the use of violent media also rise.
The study was conducted by the Interior Ministry and the Criminological Research Institute of Niedersachsen (KFN). Not Islam as such is the reason for this trend, but the way it is taught. Professor for Religious Studies Rauf Ceylan, whose research on imams in Germany is mentioned in the study, says that many factors have to be taken into consideration. The role of imams, who are raised and trained abroad and who have no connection to Germany, may be one factor, as they act as a role model for young male Muslims. If the imams consider male domination normal or positive, this attitude is likely to be reproduced by the younger.
In the ongoing debate of German Muslim integration, two politicians have asserted that Germany does not need a “liberal racism” as propagated by Geert Wilders in the neighboring Netherlands. Both conservative politician Alois Glück and social democrat and interior minister of Berlin, Erhart Körting, talk about accommodating Muslims, including potential worries, without drawing on prejudices.
Glück emphasizes the importance of recognizing the cultural process Islam is going through, consisting of many different currants and moving towards a tolerant form of, for instance, equal gender rights. He is in favor of working together with Islamic associations and of educating Imams in Germany. Körting calls for actively promoting integration especially among those who do not share a “European cultural identity” and who live in large numbers with migrants from the same country, such as those of Turkish background. These people are just as much eligible for integration, but may need more help and should also realize the effort they need to put in for the sake of their children.
Muslim immigrants looking for advice on integrating into mainstream society in Germany, won’t find much help in their mosques. According to a new study, the majority of imams in Germany are ill-prepared for their own stay in Germany and most lack any academic training. A study on Islamic preachers in Germany has found that most imams are unable to help Muslim immigrants integrate into mainstream German society because they are insufficiently prepared for their stay in Germany. According to the study “Imams in Germany,” up to 20 percent of preachers belong to the more conservative, fundamentalist strand of Islam. The study also discovered that only one fifth of imam’s possess academic qualifications.
Bonn, Germany (dpa) – Imams trained abroad but working in Germany should attend the integration courses set up for foreigners, the integration commissioners of the 16 German states said. In the longer term “training imams in Germany is essential,” the commissioners said after meeting in Bonn, noting that Islam was now a “fixed part of German society.” Even if imams had no intention of remaining permanently in Germany they should still undergo the course, aimed at helping immigrants communicate in German and comprehend German society, the commissioners said.
English summary: This Wednesday in Berlin the Islam conference begins. Islamic critic Necla Kelek demands of this conference a clear formulation of a fundamental religious understanding that can govern the everyday life of Muslims. Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has invited representatives from the Muslim Federation and from the Muslim Civil Society to the conference. Through this meeting, as well as in closed workgroups throughout the next two years, these representatives should, along with representatives of the German states, develop rules for Islamic religious instruction, for the formation of imams in Germany, and for a coalition of the 3.2 million Muslims who live in this country. One of the participants is sociologist Necla Kelek, who has for years fought against honor killings and polygamy, and for the rights of Muslim women and girls. —– Article in German: Islam ohne Angst In Berlin beginnt an diesem Mittwoch die Islam-Konferenz. Die Islam-Kritikerin Necla Kelek fordert von ihr eine klare Abgrenzung von einem fundamentalistischen Religionsverst_ndnis, das den Alltag der Moslems beherrsche. Zu der Konferenz hat Bundesinnenminister Wolfgang Sch_uble Vertreter der muslimischen Verb_nde und Repr_sentanten der muslimischen Zivilgesellschaft eingeladen. Sie sollen bei dem Treffen sowie in anschlie_enden Arbeitsgruppen in den n_chsten zwei Jahren, zusammen mit Vertretern des deutschen Staates, unter anderem Regeln f_r eine islamischen Religionsunterricht, die Ausbildung von Imamen in Deutschland und f_r eine gemeinsame Vertretung der hier lebenden 3,2 Millionen Moslems erarbeiten. Eine der Teilnehmerinnen ist die Soziologin Necla Kelek, die seit Jahren gegen Ehrenmorde und Zwangsheiraten und f_r die Rechte der muslimischen Frauen und M_dchen k_mpft.