DIK - Deutsche Islam Konferenz - Background

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Background: from an initiative to a common goal

"The aim is to shape the future together," emphasised Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, the then Minister of the Interior and founder of the German Islam Conference (DIK), in November 2006, shortly after the start of the conference.

To achieve this, everyday problems must be solved, joint action must be taken to combat Islamist terrorism and unemployment and educational disadvantages must also be reduced. Dr Schäuble continued, “We want there to be an ongoing dialogue as stated in the coalition treaty, for Muslims are no longer a foreign population group in Germany but have become an integral part of our society.”

The dialogue: open, long-term, controversial

Religious education in Koran schools and state schools, the headscarf issue, the training of imams, the role of women and girls, halal butchery – there are plenty of issues with which the members of the German Islam Conference want to and must engage.“We do not intend this to be simply a harmonious forum concentrating only on achieving consensus,” the Minister for the Interior said plainly in his government statement after the first plenary meeting. We have started successfully, Dr Schäuble continued, because everyone listened to each other and agreed at the end of discussions that we should continue.

Islam: different structures, new challenges

The study commissioned by the German Islam Conference, "Muslim life in Germany", showed that approximately 3.8 to 4.3 million Muslims live in the Federal Republic – and that, after Christians, they make up the second largest religious group in the country. Most Muslims are immigrants or were born here as children of immigrants, and come primarily from Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Morocco or Afghanistan.

Islam is therefore, for Germany, a comparatively new religion. Muslim associations want to have the same rights in law as the Christian churches in this country. "They must however create the organisational conditions to achieve this," claims Dr Wolfgang Schäuble. For, in comparison to other religious groups, the level of organisation within Islam is low.

According to the study "Muslim life in Germany" that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees conducted on behalf of the Islam conference, only 20 per cent of the Muslims surveyed said they belonged to a religious association or community. The numbers attending mosque are however much larger. The task of the German Islam Conference (DIK) therefore is also to debate how Islam can meet the organisational requirements of German religious constitutional law.  Interior Minister Schäuble comments, “We can conduct extensive discussions with Christian churches not only for historical reasons, but also because the Christian churches are clearly structured and organised. Muslims are not; and this is a new area for us.”

The aim of the founder: understanding, tolerance, diversity

“In opening dialogue with Muslims, my hope is that everyone understands that Muslims are welcome in Germany. […]  One of the effects that this conference should have is that our society will appreciate to a greater extent that Muslims are a part of this society. […] I hope that the German Islam Conference will succeed not only in finding practical solutions but also in creating more understanding, sympathy, peace, tolerance, and above all, more communication and diversity and thereby contribute to enriching our country.[…]

It was an open and sometimes highly controversial debate. It would be dishonest to describe it in any other way. However, no one expressed the slightest reservation about the validity of our constitutional or legal system. It was accepted absolutely without question. This also has to be clearly stated.” However, "We have a difficult path ahead of us and – as everyone said – there is a lot of work to do," confirmed Dr Wolfgang Schäuble in his 2006 government statement "German Islam Conference – perspectives for a common future".

Additional Information

A lot of labor is done in the background.

The members of German Islam Conference’s plenary 2010-2013

Places have been allocated in the plenary for the second phase of the German Islam Conference (DIK). Former members of the plenary will continue to advise the German Islam Conference.

More: The members of German Islam Conference’s plenary 2010-2013 …

New structure of the German Islam Conference

The German Islam Conference will have a more practical focus in its second phase. Read on to find out how the German Islam Conference will work in the future.

More: New structure of the German Islam Conference …

Press conference of the third Plenary meeting of the DIK

Towards a different way of reporting

The overwhelming image of Islam in the German-language media rarely contributes to the integration of Muslims or to breaking down prejudices or fears in the majority population. The German Islam Conference wishes to change this and has initiated extensive dialogue with Muslims, media professionals, academics and politicians.

More: Towards a different way of reporting …

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