The president of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck congratulated Muslims for the end of the Ramadan Month and the celebration of (Id-al Fitr). He stressed the need for constructive cooperation and trust building between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Also Nicolaus Schneider, the chair of the Evangelical church in Germany and archbishop Dr. Robert Zollitsch, chair of German bishops emphasized the need for religious dialogue.
The chair of the coordination council for Muslims Aiman Mazyek, congratulated all Muslims to the Id-al Fitr. He called Muslims to remember fellow Muslims who suffer in Syria, Egypt and Myanmar, praying for peace and justice.
Federal President Joachim Gauck has met young Muslim immigrants prior to the annual young Islam conference. During the conference, young Muslims are given the opportunity to show their societal engagement and discuss political and social issues with politicians and local experts.
Albeit, most participants expressed their satisfaction about the event, some see the need for action towards more tolerance and acceptance of diversity. Stereotypes in media would increase Islamophobia. Arman Kuru a student candidate for the police department and participant of the conference understands “plurality as a treasure”. A further issue is the legal equal treatment of Islam as a religion in Germany.
Dr. Naika Foroutan from the Humboldt University of Berlin understands integration as a commitment for all members of the society. Hence, the conference members demand the acceptance of dual citizenship.
Federal President Joachim Gauck has refused to meet bereaved family members of the victims murdered by the right-wing terrorist group NSU (National Socialist Underground). The Turkish community had welcomed a meeting but the Office of the Federal President refused it.
Kenan Kolat, representative of the Turkish community criticized the reaction of the Federal President. “The President should set a sign. Many family members of the victims would have been disappointed by the results of the commission of inquiry.”
The reaction of President Gauck is peculiar. He condemned the NSU series of murders but did not take a clear stand in favor of the victims. In contrast to his predecessor Christian Wulff (CDU), Gauck refused to recognize Islam as an integral part of Germany. He has underlined the “strangeness” of Islam and its differences to the German and European identity. He related it to the historical strangeness of Western democracies towards Communism. President Gauck has shown understanding for the fear of Germans towards Islam and Muslim immigrants.
Muslim associations such as the Central council for Muslims in Germany and the Council for Coordination for Muslims in Germany (KRM) have criticized the comments of German Federal president Joachim Gauck about Muslim and the belonging of Islam to Germany. President Gauck took repeatedly distance from the declaration of his predecessor Christian Wulff (CDU), who pointed at Islam as an integral part of Germany.
In an interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Gauck has said to accept Muslims as part of Germany but denied the statement of his predecessor about Islam being part of German society.
The Council for Coordination has declared his statement as irritating and disturbing. The chairman of the Turkish community Kenan Kolat has invited president Gauck to a revision of books on European history, while rejecting an ideological debate.
The interviews and speeches given by Germany’s new president, Joachim Gauck, show that he is putting a clear distance between himself and Islam. But as German president, his job is not to polarise, but to differentiate. In this essay, Jan Kuhlmann argues that he should reach out more to conservative Muslims in particular
Joachim Gauck was elected as the new head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany last week. The Mulsim organisations in Germany congratulated the new president to his election. The Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany, for instance, is hoping for a cooperative partnership between the Germany’s Muslim communities and associations and the new head of the state. The Council’s representatives were particularly optimistic about Gauck’s statement about the central importance of integration policy. Gauck said he wanted to follow on the path of his successor, Christian Wulff. Aiman Mazyek, Head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, also wished Gauck mall the best for his new position. He assured Gauck that the Muslims in Germany will make their contribution to the freedom and welfare of our state – but he also said they were hoping to become an integral part of German society.
Others are more sceptical about the election of Gauck. Mehmet Kilic, for instance, Turkish-born spokesman on integration for the Green Party group in the German parliament, considers Gauck to be the wrong choice fort he position. More specifically, he objects toGauck’s evident understanding for the views of Thilo Sarrazin, who published a highly controversial book (Germany does away with itself) in 2010 (as reported). Similarly, Kenan Kolat, head oft he Turkish Community in Germany, is still disappointed about Wulff’s designation, who had particularly lobbied for a stronger acceptance of Islam as part of Germany.
Muslims are divided in their views on the new German president, Joachim Gauck. Many are concerned about his evident understanding for the views of Thilo Sarrazin on Muslims in Germany. Jan Kuhlmann reports
It was a broad coalition in the Federal Assembly which elected Joachim Gauck to the German presidency last Sunday. Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens all supported the 72-year-old candidate. The media also took a positive view, describing him as a “President of the People” – a judgement which is confirmed by the opinion polls. According to one major poll, 67 percent think he was a good choice. So is Joachim Gauck “everybody’s president”?
That doesn’t seem to be true: in spite of the fact that so many political parties supported him, 108 members of the assembly abstained. Muslims in Germany are especially critical. Some – like Mehmet Kilic, Turkish-born spokesman on integration for the Green Party group in the German parliament – see Gauck as the completely wrong man for the job. He objects particularly to Gauck’s evident understanding for the views of Thilo Sarrazin, a former central banker whose book “Germany does away with itself” (“Deutschland schafft sich ab”) was highly controversial because of its view that the immigration of people who are genetically disadvantaged is causing problems for Germany.