Islam conference opens in Berlin

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble is meeting with Muslim groups in Berlin for the third so-called “Islam Conference”. The aim of the annual conference is to improve the integration of Germany’s approximately 3.5 million Muslim residents, most of them of Turkish background. Topics to be discussed include the consensus on social values, religious issues and the function of the media in building bridges between different cultures. The conference comes a day after a poll was released indicating that a majority of Turks feels unwanted in the country.

Interior Minister Schäuble: “Islam has become a part of our country”

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble (CDU) warned to spread fear in debates on integration of Muslims in Germany. _Islam has become a part of our contry, he said to the “Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung (F.A.S.). The majority of migrants in Germany are well-integrated, Sch_uble added.

Umbrella Organization Planned: German Muslim Groups to Speak as One

Germany’s Islamic organizations aren’t lacking in number. But coherence has long been a problem. Now four groups are banding together to form an umbrella organization. German politicians applaud the initiative, but warn that it’s only one of several on the way to better inter-cultural dialogue. When Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble held an Islam conference in Berlin last year, his goal was to establish a new basis for dialogue with Germany’s Muslim community, one rooted in democratic and constitutional values. But as the representatives of the various Muslim organizations, federations and groups pulled up their chairs around the table, it became clear that dialogue — in the sense of conversation between two parties — was a misnomer: To date, no single body has represented the interests of the 3.3 million Muslims living in Germany. Now, four organisations want to change that (…)

Islam without Angst

English summary: This Wednesday in Berlin the Islam conference begins. Islamic critic Necla Kelek demands of this conference a clear formulation of a fundamental religious understanding that can govern the everyday life of Muslims. Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has invited representatives from the Muslim Federation and from the Muslim Civil Society to the conference. Through this meeting, as well as in closed workgroups throughout the next two years, these representatives should, along with representatives of the German states, develop rules for Islamic religious instruction, for the formation of imams in Germany, and for a coalition of the 3.2 million Muslims who live in this country. One of the participants is sociologist Necla Kelek, who has for years fought against honor killings and polygamy, and for the rights of Muslim women and girls. —– Article in German: Islam ohne Angst In Berlin beginnt an diesem Mittwoch die Islam-Konferenz. Die Islam-Kritikerin Necla Kelek fordert von ihr eine klare Abgrenzung von einem fundamentalistischen Religionsverst_ndnis, das den Alltag der Moslems beherrsche. Zu der Konferenz hat Bundesinnenminister Wolfgang Sch_uble Vertreter der muslimischen Verb_nde und Repr_sentanten der muslimischen Zivilgesellschaft eingeladen. Sie sollen bei dem Treffen sowie in anschlie_enden Arbeitsgruppen in den n_chsten zwei Jahren, zusammen mit Vertretern des deutschen Staates, unter anderem Regeln f_r eine islamischen Religionsunterricht, die Ausbildung von Imamen in Deutschland und f_r eine gemeinsame Vertretung der hier lebenden 3,2 Millionen Moslems erarbeiten. Eine der Teilnehmerinnen ist die Soziologin Necla Kelek, die seit Jahren gegen Ehrenmorde und Zwangsheiraten und f_r die Rechte der muslimischen Frauen und M_dchen k_mpft.

Spiegel interview with Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäube: “We have no relationship to our diverse Muslim Society”

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble discusses the pope’s criticism of Islam, the prospect of imams preaching in German, and the risk of terrorism in Germany now that the military is so busy overseas. Germany’s first-ever “Islamic conference” between Muslims and the government takes place next Wednesday in Berlin.

One Fifth of Germans Have an Immigrant Background

For the first time, the Federal Statistical Office included questions concerning immigration in the population census. It found that around seven million foreigners live in Germany. If one adds those who became citizens only recently, one finds that around 15 million people, or one fifth of Germany’s population, has an immigrant background. Also interesting is the 2005 Report on Immigration, recently adopted by the Cabinet, which shows that the rate of immigration has been falling. At the same time, Wolfgang Sch_uble, the Minister of the Interior, argues that the percieved effect of immigration may be far beyond the actual level.