DIK - Deutsche Islam Konferenz - Study "Islamic community life in Germany"

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New study from the German Islam Conference "Islamic community life"

In Germany there are approximately 2,350 mosques and cemevi (Alevi prayer houses). In at least 1,700 Islamic communities, there is usually an active imam or, in the case of Alevi communities, a dede And there are indications that this is only the minimum number. The actual number is higher because the number of imams and dedes in Germany varies. Figures show an average of around 2,180 Islamic congregations with one cleric.

Download the full study here (available in German only): Studie "Islamisches Gemeindeleben in Deutschland"

Download the summary of the study here: Summary "Muslim Community Life in Germany"

The study on Islamic communities was carried out by the Centre for Turkish Studies and Integration Research (ZfTI) and the study on Islamic clerics was conducted by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). These studies follow on from the BAMF study "Muslimisches Leben in Deutschland" [Muslim life in Germany] published by the German Islam  Conference in 2009. They provide a comprehensive overview of the programmes and structures of Islamic congregations drawn from the answers provided to surveys by approximately 1140 Islamic congregations and 800 imams and Alevi dedes, as well as providing insight into the origin, education, duties and residence status of the clerics.

Islamic community life in Germany is diverse

The Islamic community landscape in Germany is shown as being very diverse in regard to the represented denominations, affiliations or non-affiliations with associations and the countries of origin of the worshippers. Accordingly the clerics active here also form a heterogenous group. There is a predominance of Turkish communities and accordingly most imams and dedes have a Turkish migration background. Approximately only every fifth cleric originates from a country other than Turkey. In addition, many predominantly Turkish congregations are attended by believers from other countries of origin. Imams often face the challenge of integrating into their congregations Muslims with different linguistic and cultural roots.

Important role in integration: Islamic congregations and their clerics

Almost all Islamic congregations offer more than services of a religious nature. An important aspect of their work is offering help in orientating newcomers to German society, such as counselling advice or help with homework. There is no competition between religious and non-religious programmes rather the essential concern is equipping the community with resources.The diversity of programmes within the congregations is reflected in the areas in which the imams and dedes are involved. Only a minority of them restrict their work to traditional religious duties as more than 95 per cent take on additional tasks in the social arena, in intercultural dialogue or in working with teachers, social workers or other stakeholders in the receiving society.

Very high interest from imams and dedes in continuing and further education

Islamic congregations and the clerics who work in them are therefore important contacts for integrating Muslims into German society. It is also clear however that imams and dedes often take on tasks for which they have not been trained which explains the extraordinarily high interest shown by imams and dedes in continuing and further education, above all in areas of social issues, counselling and pastoral care.

The existing initiatives offered by the German Islam Conference in continuing and further education for Islamic clerics have been confirmed by analyses. In addition, approaches for expanding target-specific programmes have been designed based on the results.

For the first time, both studies present reliable nationwide data concerning the diversity of Islamic community life in Germany. These detailed results offer solid background information for politics and society about Muslim organisations and the imams and dedes who work in them.

The compilers of the research report concerning programmes and structures of Islamic communities are Dirk Halm and Martina Sauer.

The compilers of the research report about Islamic clerics are Jana Schmidt and Anja Stichs.

DIK Editorial board, 17.04.2012

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