DIK - Deutsche Islam Konferenz - Meeting 1-5

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Preparatory Committee presents its initial results to the plenary meeting

The German Islam Conference's (DIK) Preparatory Committee met on 1 March 2011 for the last time before the plenary meeting held on 29 March 2011. It provided the initial results of the second stage of the DIK's almost year-long working phase.

The discussions particularly focused on:

  • The status of establishing Islamic Studies and Islamic Theology courses at the Universities of Tübingen, Osnabrück-Münster, Erlangen-Nuremberg and Frankfurt-Giessen, which will be funded for the next 5 years by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research.
  • The pilot programme developed by a project group within the DIK for training religious staff at a local level
  • The outcomes of a conference on Islamic religious education organised by a preparatory group in the DIK on 13 and 14 February 2011 in Nuremberg
  • The report on key phenomena of intolerance and extremism drawn up by the "Prevention with Young People" working group.

The plenary of the German Islam Conference will finally advise and sign off the outcomes on 29 March 2011 and present these to the general public.

The Preparatory Committee, which represents the plenary session of the DIK at a working level, has met five times to date during the 17th legislative period. The first two meetings, held in March and April 2010, focused on the DIK's working programme. At the third meeting, on 2 July 2010, the Committee issued the first specific instructions for implementation on the basis of the working programme adopted by the plenary session. Progress made in this regard was subsequently reviewed at the fifth meeting, held on 1 March 2011.

The focus of DIK’s work during the first year of the next stage was on key area 1 “Promoting institutional cooperation and integration-related project work”, which is also due to be the main subject dealt with at the next plenary session on 29 March 2011. Key area 2 “Promoting gender equality” and key area 3 “Preventing extremism, radicalisation and social polarisation” are then to be the main areas focused on at the subsequent plenary meetings.

Key area 1

The “Further training for religious workers” project group is drawing up a language and social studies model for imams and Alevi religious officials in time for the next DIK plenary session in 2011. The project group’s specific aim was to prepare a publication containing practical tips on setting up and implementing further training measures at local authority level. Experience gained from existing projects has been incorporated into the process. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, which supports numerous projects like these and has also designed some of them, headed the project group. The project group comprises five Muslim organisations and individuals from the plenary session as well as, for example, representatives from universities, local authorities, the Integration Ministers Conference and the Foreign Ministry, all of whom have contributed their specific knowledge and requirements in relation to the training, which is also intended to reach leaders and other multipliers in the Muslim communities. The work of the project group, which meets monthly, is based on the belief set out in the DIK’s working programme that religious officials are important multipliers in the integration process on the ground.

The "Islamic religious education in Germany – challenges and perspectives" conference held in Nuremberg on 13 and 14 February 2011 attracted a high level of media interest.

Key area 2

The key area "Gender equality" will be focused on after the plenary meeting from April 2011 onwards.  

Key area 3

The aim of the working group “Prevention work with young people” set up for the duration of the entire 17th legislative period is to help promote tolerance and prevent extremism, particularly amongst young people. By the time of the plenary meeting in 2011, the aim is to reach a joint understanding with regard to the phenomena of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, wholesale rejection of the West and Islamism, and extremism justified on religious grounds amongst Muslims. To date, four meetings have been held on the subjects of hostility towards Muslims (Islamophobia), anti-Semitism amongst young Muslims, and religiously motivated extremism and Islamism. On this basis and taking into account existing experience in the field of preventing extremism and promoting tolerance among young people, the working group has set itself the goal of initiating and managing specific preventive measures for youth work after the plenary meeting. The working group will make its results publicly available in 2012.

Tie-in measures introduced by DIK

In line with the DIK’s new approach of focusing on practical issues in relation to the coexistence of the majority community and Muslims, the then Federal Minister for the Interior Dr Thomas de Maizière, speaking at the plenary session on 17 May 2010, announced an integration prize for exemplary projects implemented by and with Muslims. The aim of the prize is to pay tribute to the commitment of project workers who help Muslims to become more involved in society and who contribute to improved coexistence between different groups in the population. Many entries had been received by the closing date of 31 August 2010. The winning entries were chosen by a panel composed of eight Muslim former plenary members of the German Islam Conference. The awards for the six best projects and ideas were presented on 12 November 2010 by the then Federal Minister for the Interior Dr Thomas de Maizière in Berlin.

In addition to Islamic theology, the issue of further training in German language and German studies for imams and other multipliers in Islamic communities is one of the main focuses of the DIK’s work. With this in mind, the then Minister met imams and Alevi religious officials from all of the associations involved in the DIK on 8 December 2010. His priority was to gain direct information from imams in Germany about their situation, to call for greater efforts towards integration in the Mosque communities and to work towards appropriate solutions.

The “round table of German and Turkish journalists in Berlin" has already met twice during the new phase of the DIK’s work, with such guest speakers as Dr Thomas de Maizière and the Deputy Speaker on Home Affairs from the SPD parliamentary grouping, Rüdiger Veit. The DIK set up this informal event during its first phase in co-operation with the Herbert Quandt Foundation. The aim of the “round table” was and is to discuss current integration issues affecting Muslims, to ensure that an informal and journalistic exchange of ideas can take place between German and Turkish media representatives and, in this way, to have a positive impact on integration.

DIK Editorial board, 9 March 2011

Additional Information

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The plenarymeeting 2011 was held in a classy ambience.

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The objective of the long-term dialogue between state and Muslim representatives is to promote co-operation and social cohesion.

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Group photo taken from above

The German Islam Conference’s programme of work – ambitious and with a practical focus

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