The State of Baden-Württemberg and the public media Südwestrundfunk have agreed to open the media council for Muslim and Sinti minority groups. Minority groups will be represented in the media council of public service broadcasting. The treaty is perceived as a milestone towards ethnic and religious plurality in German media.
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.
17 January 2013
The announcement of the participation of Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan in a conference on ‘Islam and the media’ in Roubaix, Nord Pas-de- Calais, has according to a report in France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais caused deep local controversy. Segments of the local community have criticized both, the organization Association Rencontre et Dialogue for creating, and the city hall for permitting such a debate in the city. Their criticism is in form and content directed against the conference and its renowned Muslim participant.
A UMP politician has questioned Tariq Ramadan’s understanding of Muslim acceptance in France. He denounced Ramadan’s critique of French state and societal attitudes towards Muslims and decries the rise of communalism allegedly caused by the Muslim intellectual’s rhetoric. Another opponent accused both the city hall and the organizers to tolerate and facilitate proselytisation by providing a public platform to the ideas represented by people like Ramadan.
In response to the severe criticism, the mayor of Roubaix has justified his decision as a commitment to the idea freedom of expression and plurality of opinions.
The Egyptian philosopher and theologian Nasr Abu Zayd, participated at the event “The Dialogue Among Cultures” organized by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations the 2nd of March in Pisa, Italy. Abu Zayd proposes a humanistic interpretation of the Qur’an challenging the fundamentalist and dogmatic interpretation of the holy book. Due to his position, he had to abandon Egypt and move to The Netherlands where he teaches at the university of Utrecht. Abu Zayd’s thesis is that the Qur’an is not just a text, but mainly a plurality of discourses that need to be interpreted. The Qur’an, from his point of view, is a recitation and, as such, it was originally addressed to a multiplicity of recipients and is constituted by a plurality of voices. Moreover, it encompasses different types of discourses: dialogical, polemic, exclusive, inclusive and many others. He claims that overemphasizing the divine element brought to the preponderance of the literal interpretation in light of which many historical decisions were taken for divine injunctions. He defends the human dimension incorporated in the structure of the Qur’an and, consequently, a humanistic hermeneutics of it. Adopting this perspective will demonstrate to Muslims that issues such as modernity and democracy should be discussed independently from theological or juridical limit. At the moment, he is committed in setting up a net of people, intellectuals and not intellectuals, devoted to encourage autonomous thinking in the Muslim world.
There are very few comprehensive studies of Sharia around. German lawyer and Islamic Studies expert Mathias Rohe has just written one where, among other things, he argues that the historical and global perspective has always produced a multiplicity of interpretations. Martina Sabra has been reading it
The collaborative research project on “Muslims in Europe and Their Societies of Origin in Asia and Africa” invites contributions to a conference to be held from 7 to 9 May 2009 at the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin, Germany. This conference will present the results of the programme for the current research phase embedded in a wider context of academic scholarship. In consonance with the project the conference will discuss the various ways in which religious actors and institutions of Islam are taking root in today’s Europe. While recent scholarship has primarily focused on processes of secularisation of Muslims in Europe, this conference seeks to go further by discussing Muslim groups and individu- als following religious lifestyles. In this process issues have emerged that have preoccupied politicians, public opinion as much as scholars throughout the last decades: Can European social and political realities be reconciled with growing religious plurality in general and religious projects deriving from Islam in particular – and if so, on what premises? What are the concepts, aims, needs and fears Muslim actors pursue and confront in the public arena, and what institutions do they develop to channel their objectives? To what extent are European political and social realities reflected or inscribed in their religious, political, social and economic activities?
Lavapi_s, Madrid’s most culturally diverse district, was chosen to welcome a festival called “Nights of Ramadan” from October 9th to 13th. These five days of cultural activities included conferences, music, dance, movies, and storytelling. The objective of the festival was to share the social and cultural festivities with the neighborhood, and encourage multicultural co-existence with Muslims from a plurality of backgrounds.