Integration through Sports – A young multicultural German team

June 8

 

“Multi-culti” is a vital aspect of the German national team, which is going to compete with 15 other nations for the 2012European football championship in Poland and Ukraine. The selection of seven players with a “migration background” by Head coach Joachim Löw is a living example for successful integration.

 

In earlier statements, Federal chancellor Angela Merkel had declared multiculturalism as a failed concept for German society. Nevertheless, the presence of players such as Mesud Özil, Lukas Podolski, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira und Ilkay Gündoğan, shows that players with different backgrounds to be able to integrate in a successful German team. Head coach Löw defended his players when the media questioned the identification feeling of some players, who would refuse to sing the German national anthem. In fact, these players have proven their belonging feeling in previous matches and if other German players like Cacao, who is a religious Christian, would celebrate their goals in praying to Jesus, the first player to congratulate and hug them would be the Muslim Mesud Özil.

Government seeks to recast relations with British Muslims

The communities secretary, John Denham, is to attempt a fresh start in the government’s relationship with British Muslims after acknowledging that mistakes have been made in the drive against violent extremism in the UK.

Denham said he wanted to see a clear policy shift away from defining the government’s relationship with Muslim communities entirely in terms of tackling extremism. New, revised guidance on the operation of the £45m Prevent strategy, which is intended to challenge violent extremist ideology and disrupt those who promote it, is to be drawn up this summer.

The new approach is expected to ensure that funding goes to a wider range of organisations, while a more explicit strategy to resist white racist extremism is also being developed.

Ukraine’s Muslims are part of ‘Muslim European Community’

“Ukraine is a European country and the Muslims of Ukraine are part of the Muslim European community,” according to the head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations of Europe (FIOE) — yet another way in which the people of Ukraine are underscoring their attachment to Europe rather than Eurasia.

During a visit to the Islamic Cultural Center in Kyiv last week, Shakib Benmakhlyuf, FIOE president, not only stressed the Europeanness of Ukraine and of Ukraine’s Muslims but “positively assessed” both the speed of Islamic rebirth there and “the public activity” of Islamic community there.

In response, Mufti Said Ismagilov, the head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Ukraine, said his community would like to expand its cooperation with FIOE and that he and the Muslims of Ukraine believe that the recent adoption of the Charter of Muslims of Europe can promote more active ties among European countries.

Ukraine: Introducing Muslim Fashion to Ukraine

Olga Kokalits, a 25-year old Ukrainian Muslim convert, won a fashion contest as the best fashion designer contest last week in the Ukraine. Kokalits said that she felt that “it was a duty” to take part in a fashion show sponsored by the state, presenting a selection of 10 different Islamic attires varying from wedding gowns, sports outfits, and evening dresses. “I was concerned that Muslim clothes, which cover the whole body except for face and hands, will look odd and funny to an audience who are not familiar with such wearing,” said Olga. Her designs, on the contrary, received a warm welcome from audience members and judges alike. “I was surprised to see the audience showing great interest in my creations,” she said.

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Ukraine: Crimean Muslims want to take issue of mosque land to Council of Europe

Crimean Muslims proposed that the Council of Europe’s conference on regional development in Ukraine should discuss the issue of allotting land for the construction of a major mosque in Simferopol. The groups sent a letter to Halvdan Skard, the representative of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. The group has also called to discuss the reinstatement of rights for deported Crimean Tatars.