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.