DIK - Deutsche Islam Konferenz - Plenary session 2011

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The plenary meeting of the German Islam Conference presents specific results

The highest body of the German Islam Conference (DIK) is the plenary board. Beneath the plenary board, its work is prepared and complemented by a preparatory committee (VA). In addition, the VA can arrange working committees with specific assignments that are flexible in terms of staff and topics.

The German Islam Conference's preparatory committee met four times in 2010 and has met once to date in 2011. In the first two meetings, the German Islam Conference’s work programme for the legislative period was drawn up jointly and adopted at the plenary meeting on 17 May 2010. After the plenary in 2010, the preparatory committee decided on 2 July 2010 on more specific projects and measures for implementing the work programme in accordance with the more practice-focused approach.

The Islam Conference set itself the following three specific goals for the period until the plenary meeting on 29 March 2011:

  • To promote the nationwide exchange concerning issues of Islamic religious education,
  • To develop a guideline for regional and linguistic continuing education of religious staff and other multipliers in Muslim communities at a local authority level,
  • To agree on key issues and definitions in the area of preventing extremism in order to then address the initiation of practical measures on this basis.

Three working committees were set up within the Preparatory Committee to implement the specified objectives: one preparatory group for a nationwide DIK conference on the Islamic religious education, one project group to develop the DIK continuing education theme and one working group looking at preventing extremism. These working committees began their work in September last year.

The plenary meeting of the German Islam Conference that took place on 29 March 2011 paid particular attention to the above-mentioned issues. In addition, Dr Schavan, the Federal Minister for Education and Research, reported on the progress of establishing Islamic Theology at German universities, and the President of the Conference of Cultural Ministers, Dr Althusmann (Minister), reported on the progress regarding introducing the teaching of Islamic religious studies at state schools.

Because these issues will be at the centre of the plenary meeting on 29 March 2011, the key topics specified in the DIK working programme for the plenary meetings in 2012 and 2013 will be "Sex equality" and "Preventing extremism". The work on all other key issues in the DIK's working programme will continue independently of these issues.

Promoting the nationwide exchange of views concerning the introduction of Islamic religious education

The teaching of the Islamic religion in state schools in Germany is a key theme of the German Islam Conference. As early as its first phase (2006-2009), issues within the context of introducing denominational Islamic religious instruction were discussed in depth and the legal constitutional framework conditions were specified. The Länder shall remain responsible for introducing Islamic religious education and in this context they shall examine whether an organisation fulfils the conditions of being a a religious community in accordance with Article 7, para. 3 of the Basic Law.

In its current phase, the German Islam Conference, according to its working programme, offers the framework for a nationwide exchange of information and experience, particularly on practical developments and specific progress in introducing Islamic religious education and on existing religious studies pilot schemes at state schools.

As a first step in implementing this work assignment, the German Islam Conference organised a convention entitled "Islamic religious studies in Germany – perspectives and challenges", which took place on 13 and 14 February 2011 in Nuremberg. Key issues discussed at the conference were the current status of introducing Islamic religious instruction in the Länder (federal states) and types of involvement by Muslims, including a presentation of experiences and perspectives.

With this convention, the German Islam Conference, even in its current phase, succeeded in setting important triggers within the process of introducing denominational Islamic lessons in schools, in particular in attracting diplomatic transitional solutions at Länder level in order to create, step-by-step, comprehensive programmes that will be accepted by the majority of Muslims.

A conference transcript will be published for the plenary meeting held on 29 March 2011. It will contain the papers given to the conference and present the discussion contributions in order to make these accessible to a wider audience.

Note: Establishing theologically focused "Islamic Studies" at German universities continues to be a key issue for the German Islam Conference. After the outcomes of the Islam Conference in 2009 were incorporated in recommendations proposed by the academic council, it has received regular information from the DIK Preparatory Committee and was informed in the plenary meetings of 2010 and will be informed at the 2011 meetings of the progress made. It will continue to follow and support the process.

Developing a guideline for regional and linguistic continuing education of religious staff and other multipliers in Muslim communities at a local authority level

The continuing education in sociological and linguistic areas not only of imams and Alevi clerics but also of board members and those filling other voluntary positions in Islamic communities is of great importance in terms of supporting social cohesion and integration. As on- the- spot mediators– including between Islamic communities and local stakeholders – they are important multipliers. Knowing the German language and the social environment – particularly at local level – are essential not only for participating in public life but also for work in the community.

The German Islam Conference has therefore developed the guideline "Dialogue – Openness – Networking: guidelines for continuing education in sociological and linguistic areas for religious staff and other multipliers in Islamic communities at local level". It is intended to win local authorities, community stakeholders and Islamic communities for continuing education projects and to support the planning and implementation of these projects. With this guideline the German Islam Conference is contributing to the practical improvement of the dialogue and collaboration with Muslims at a local level, i.e. at local authority level. The continuing education measures are also an important intermediate step in terms of integration policy until the trained imams can take up their work in Muslim communities in Germany.

The guideline is based on the experience of continuing education programmes that are already running and on discussions with representatives from local authorities, Muslim communities and associations and academics. Specific recommendations and tips for designing successful and sustainable continuing education projects in terms of their organisation and content have been given in accordance with examples of best practice. At the same time, sufficient space for needs-based structuring locally has been allowed by, for example, modular topic suggestions. In addition to the thematic modules, alongside key words for content, sample proposals for practical experience and discussions outside the classroom will always be supplied. The guideline also contains tips for interested project providers for further consultation programmes and financing options.

Agreeing on key phenomena and definitions in the area of prevention

Preventing extremism, radicalisation and social polarisation is also a key issue under discussion in the current Islam Conference. The Conference is concerned with working out practical improvements by consensual collaboration of representatives at all levels within the state structure and by Muslims living in Germany to ensure that everyone can live side-by-side in peace and respect. To this end, the Islam Conference has set up the "Prevention work with young people” working group that met for the first time in September last year.

This working group gradually took on this topic, and as a first step, worked out a common understanding of three phenomena that are of key importance in prevention work: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism in Muslim youth, and Islamism or religious extremism in Muslims. The result of this work is collected in an interim report of the working group for the plenary meeting of the German Islam Conference.

The consensus achieved concerning the definitions is a great success. This did not occur in the first phase of the DIK, up to 2009. The descriptions of the phenomena that the working group agreed upon now form the basis for the future of the "Prevention work with young people" working group's endeavours. In the second step, it would like to initiate and manage youth work programmes on the specified phenomena, taking into consideration the existing experience in the area of preventing extremism and also in promoting tolerance. These measures will be presented at the plenary meeting in 2012.

Additional measures

In accordance with the stronger practical orientation of the German Islam Conference, the Prize for Integration awarded by the German Islam Conference was inaugurated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 2010. The prize honoured the commitment of project collaborators whose work contributes to Muslims participating more fully in society and contributing to a greater social harmony. The award ceremony was held on 12 November 2010.

In addition, against the backdrop of the current topics considered by the German Islam Conference, research projects on Muslim communities and imams in Germany are being supported and carried out by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees itself. This associated research is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2012 at the earliest.

Press Release (pdf, 72 KB)

Participants 2011 (pdf, 63 KB)

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