DIK - Deutsche Islam Konferenz - Values

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Common values as a foundation

After debating repeatedly from 2006 till 2008, the members of the 1st stage of German Islam Conference (DIK) have agreed on a common set of basic values and a mutual understanding of "integration". The interim report dated 13 March 2008, adopted by all parties represented at the German Islam Conference, states: "Integration as a process changes both parties fundamentally, the majority society as well as immigrants. It requires a higher level of adaptation by immigrants, in particular to the orientations of the host society based on the law, history and culture of Germany."

"Commitment to German law and value systems [defined in the statements of Working Group 1 as the German legal system and value system of the Basic Law] and the willingness to acquire and use the German language pave the way to understanding and involvement." The host society is challenged to make its contribution towards integration: "it is all the more important that the state and society support immigrants in being part of German society and that they are recognised accordingly and are seen as enriching society."

The Muslims represented in the German Islam Conference also emphasise in the interim report that the German Constitution is exemplary in embodying the relationship between state and religion: “The religious and ideologically neutral constitutional state protects the rights of freedom of each of its individual citizens. However, the secular state is not to be equated with a secularist political system that suppresses religion from the public sphere. The practice of  German religious constitutional law demonstrates how multifaceted the relationships between state and religion are. In a reality characterised by a multiplicity of cultures, religions, ethnic groups and philosophies, the secularity of the state has proved its worth; under the conditions that have evolved historically in Germany and are chartered in its constitution, it ensures mutually beneficial co-operation.

On this basis, the members of the German Islam Conference adopted the following five resolutions which are intended to clarify the consensus of values.

Statement 1: Integration is required to be able to live together in peace and respect

"Germany sees itself as a cultural nation that has evolved in Europe and is a liberal democratic constitutional state. The integration of all people into this social order requires everyone in our country – whatever their faith – to live together in peace and respect for the benefit of all. The rights and responsibilities of the individual and their associations expressed in this social order are mandatory for anyone who lives or would like to live in Germany."

Statement 2: Integration involves more than learning German

"Integration also requires of Muslims living in Germany their active willingness to acquire and use the German language and also to observe in full the German legal system and the value system of the Basic Law. At the same time, the majority society is required to recognise and respect Muslims living in Germany as a part of German society with equal rights."

Statement 3: Setting boundaries in order to guarantee freedoms

"Religious commandments or values can make an important contribution to a meaningful life for an individual and to constructive interaction in society. The religious freedom of the individual has its limits when it is in opposition to the liberal democratic constitutional order. This reciprocal restriction protects the freedom rights of every individual citizen, as well as the authority of the secular state and the room for development of religious communities."

Statement 4: Taking on responsibility – living out democracy

"It is the joint responsibility of the state and its citizens to promote democratic interaction founded on the German legal system and the value system of the Basic Law, to protect the rights of all citizens and to confront jointly any attempts to undermine liberal democracy – as these jeopardise the freedom and security of everyone in Germany."

Statement 5: Increasing knowledge – eliminating gaps in research

In order to be able to rectify failures in living together, we need reliable empirical knowledge, in particular in respect of the numbers, origins, educational levels, social situation, religious and cultural understanding of Muslims living in Germany. In the view of German Islam Conference Working Group 1 “German social system and consensus on values”, there are considerable deficits in this area. Above all, more account should be taken of and value given to the diverse ways in which Muslims living in Germany have integrated successfully. On this basis, Working Group 1 has initiated the research project "Muslim life in Germany".

DIK-editorial team, 25.11.2008

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