January 29, 2014
The Turkish Islamic Union Institute for Islamic religion (DITIB) regretted the comments of the Catholic Cardinal Meisner defining them “confusing”. None of the holy texts would categorize human beings, as all are created equal, stated DITIB. Citing a religious text, Meisner had excerpted one part of the text, commenting “one family of yours replaces three Muslim families to me”.
December 5, 2013
The new coalition of the German government led by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Christian Democratic (CDU) and the Christian Socialist Party (CSU) is planning to reform the citizenship law, enabling immigrants to obtain dual citizenship. The citizenship decree of the year 2000 obliged every German-born child to choose between German citizenship and the citizenship of its parents’ origins by the age of 23. If they refused to choose, they would automatically become foreign citizens.
While the issue was discussed controversially in German media, the Turkish Islamic Union Institute for Religion (DITIB) criticized the rhetoric of German politicians such as Minister of Interior Friedrich (CSU). He had raised his concerns about the loss of German identity when permitting a significant number of immigrants to become Germans. According to DITIB, Turkish immigrants would be an integral part of German society and there would be no need to question their loyalty and efforts for integration.
The major Muslims associations have called Muslims to participate at the upcoming election for the German Bundestag. Associations such as the Turkish Community in Berlin (TGB), Islamic Community Milli Görüs (IGMG), the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers (VIKZ), the Turkish Islamic Union Institute for Religion (DITIB) and the European Turkish Union have organized information meetings in mosques and Islamic centers across Germany to inform Muslims about the relevance of the upcoming elections.
Muslim immigrants have the opportunity to access information about the parties and their programs. Issues such as the dual citizenship are popular among immigrants. Albeit Muslims associations inform citizens about the political system, the parties and the political issues, they remain neutral in terms of any recommendation.
July 11 2013
Dutch Muslims began celebration of Ramadan on July 10. The month coincides with summer holidays in the Netherlands, and many Muslims in the Netherlands spend Ramadan in their home countries. Those who spend Ramadan in the Netherlands attend social and cultural activities, including attending planned Iftar programs in local mosques. Major cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam have built Iftar tents in the most popular sites to welcome Muslim and non-Muslim visitors.
The president of the Federation of Turkish Islamic Culture (TIKDF) Arif Yakisir said that 143 mosques linked to the federation planned to organize Iftar programs every day.
An assault on Sunday morning against a mosque of the DITIB association “Turkish Islamic Union for the Institution of Religion” in Bullay a town in the State of Rhineland-Palatinate has shocked the Muslim community. The perpetrators had greased the slogan: “the NSU will live forever and you will be the next” on the walls of the mosque. Bekir Alboga, General Secretary of DITIB condemned the attacks as further evidence for violence against foreigners.
The coordination council of Muslims published further assaults targeting mosques in the month of May. Mosques in the cities of Mainz, Lengerich and Düren were attacked and their walls had been greased with anti-Muslim slogans. The police is still investigating the cases. The coordination council expects a correlation between the assaults and the NSU trial. Aiman Mazyek, speaker of the coordination council condemned the assaults and warned State authorities and media not to underestimate the threat of anti-Muslim hatred in Germany.
Following the resignation of the German President Christian Wulff on Friday February 17th, migrant organisations and Muslim associations have articulated their regret about Wulff’s decision. Wulff, who finally bowed to public and political pressures and a lack of trust after allegations of corruption and blurred lines between personal, business, and political advantages had dominated discussions about him, enjoyed a reputation of being the president that migrants needed. In one of his early speeches, Wulff publicly acknowledged that Germany was, indeed, a country of immigration and, more importantly, that Islam was now an integral part of German society.
Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Community in Germany, expressed his respect for Wulff’s decision – but also for what he had achieved as a key figure for integration in Germany. Kolat is hoping for a successor who takes integration as seriously as Wulff did. Similarly, the Turkish Islamic Union (DITIB) considered Wulff to be the president that was much needed by migrants and Muslims in Germany to foster their integration. Ayman Mazyek, chair of the central councils of Muslims in Germany, appeared optimistic that Wulff’s successor would continue on his path with respect to integration.
A few months before completion of Cologne’s new central mosque early 2012, the public debate about the building continues, now focusing more on its architecture and location rather than political or social issues. In previous years, critics of the mosque, such as the right-wing group Pro Köln (Pro Cologne), had campaigned to stop the building’s construction, at times with xenophobic slogans; social commentator Ralph Giordano used it as an opportunity to comment on the failure to integrate the Turkish Islamic community. Paul Böhm, the mosque’s architect, counters, however, that “the mosque is itself an act of integration”. Its architecture has an “open”, “inviting”, and “light” characters, which communicates “a sense of openness and invitation”. These characteristics are in opposition to enduring criticisms about the mosque’s design, with complaints focusing about the height of its minarets and its alleged resemblance to nuclear reactors. In fact, the height of the mosques minarets, which were taller in the original plans, had been a problem in the past, as the threatened to overshadow Cologne’s famous Cathedral. Subsequently, their size had to be reduced to protect the Cathedral’s visual integrity.
8 July 2011
Family and friends of a 22 year old Turkish man found dead in his detention cell in the Netherlands are accusing police of brutality. Dutch officials claim the young man died of a heart attack. The man was arrested in Beverwijk after a fight with a bistro owner regarding use of the restrooms. He was detained by police using physical force after attempting to resist, and was found dead 12 hours after being taken to custody. Arif Yakisir, head of the Federation of Turkish Islamic Culture Associations commented that the organization would send a letter of condemnation to the police department and the Ministry of the Interior. Mehmet Yaramis of the Islamic Federation of the Netherlands commented that racism was involved in the incident.
A Turkish-Islamic association in Messkirch (Baden-Württemberg) is looking for a new property for their mosque after the owner of their current place has given notice to end the lease. The head of the local Turkish-Muslim association, Bahtiyar Sahin, is concerned about the timing of things, as they need to find a new property or build a mosque rather quickly. However, previous attempts to find appropriate premises to build a mosque have proven difficult. Sahin is hopeful, though, that they will find a suitable alternative to their current mosque, which will also be accepted by non-Muslim residents.
Ten Turkish Imams completed their 10-months training at the Goethe-Institute in Göttingen (Lower Saxony) on Monday (27.06.2011). The training was part of the integration project “imams for Germany”, which is funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Turkish-Islamic Union (DITIB). As foreign imams are often criticised for their lack of German language skills, a particular focus of the training was on language acquisition. Furthermore, the imams received information about life in Germany and German society, to better understand and advise Muslims in Germany.