DIK - Deutsche Islam Konferenz - Working Group on Prevention

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Working Group on Prevention: Anti-Muslim prejudice, Islamist extremism and anti-Semitism

Working together against extremism and social polarisation

Preventing extremism and social polarisation is an important shared concern. Therefore, the German Islam Conference (DIK) concentrated on the the "Prevention of extremism, radicalisation and social polarisation" in its third key area.

In September 2010, the German Islam Conference set up a working group based on its working programme dedicated to "Prevention work with young people." Why focus on young people? Because youth work - both within school and outside of school - can be instrumental in preventing intolerance and extremist positions when young people are at a crucial and impressionable age.

At the same time, the working group is also looking at the phenomena of intolerance and extremism generally and is taking various phenomena into account. In contrast to the first phase of the German Islam Conference, it explicitly looks at existing forms of anti-Muslim prejudice.

Initial outcomes

First, the working group developed an accepted definition of the phenomena of anti-Muslim prejudice, anti-Semitism amongst Muslim youth and Islamist extremism during four meetings between September 2010 and February 2011 and recorded this definition in an interim report. This report was adopted by the plenary meeting of the German Islam Conference on 29 March 2011.

Agreeing on the definitions and content is significant progress as this has put in place a basis for a joint, practical approach. The only question for which a consensus was not reached was whether extremism based on Islamism should continue to be called Islamism. While many delegates, of whom many were representatives of security authorities, adhered to the established term of Islamism, others, including Muslim associations, preferred the description of "religiously motivated extremism amongst Muslims".

Dialogue to achieve specific outcomes

Currently, members at state level and those who are Muslims are involved with methods and tools of prevention work in general, but also with existing practical experiences in preventing anti-Muslim prejudice, Islamist extremism and anti-Semitism amongst Muslim youth Approaches that cross between phenomena such as promoting general democracy and tolerance have a part to play as do specific approaches. The outcomes of this work are to be presented at the German Islam Conference's plenary meeting in spring 2012.

Based on the two phases already described, the long-term aims of the working group are initiating and managing practical recommendations and measures focussing particularly on youth work. The results from these aspects will form the key areas of discussion at the plenary meeting of the German Islam Conference in 2013.

DIK Editorial board, 16.11.2011

Additional Information

Group photo taken from above

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