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Muslim organisations in Germany

Muslims who are members of associations take part in the German Islam Conference, in addition to Muslims who are not members of an organisation.

This list includes the largest Muslim associations and umbrella organisations in Germany. They are organised in accordance with association law but are mainly concerned with acquiring thestatus of a religious community (in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 3 of the Basic Law) or even of a corporation under public law.

Affiliating to become nationwide umbrella associations is often based on the desire to establish a joint representation of interests to government institutions.

The participating associations include:

  • Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB)
  • Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany(IRD)
  • the Association of Islamic Cultural Centres (VIKZ)
  • Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), and
  • Alevi community in Germany (AABF)

The current landscape of Muslim associations in Germany has been developing since the 1970s. In the initial phase, developments in Turkey played a significant role in both theological and political respects.

Turkish-Islamic associations

Initially, associations were founded in Germany which had links with groups in Turkey, that were located outside Turkish state religious administration. This is how, for example, the Association of Islamic Cultural Centres (VIKZ) was established in 1973, as in 1975 was the forerunner organisation of the Islamic Community Millî Görüş (IGMG). The VIKZ represents a mystic Sunni Islam and the members of this Turkish-Islamic community see themselves as "disciples of Süleyman [Hilmi Tunahan] Efendi". Today over 300 communities belong to the association.

The IGMG which emerged from the Avrupa Millî Görüş Teşkilatları (AMGT) in 1995 is part of the Turkish Millî Görüş movement founded by Necmettin Erbakan. The constitution defence report of 2007 classifies it as Islamist as a result, but it does indicate that the IGMG is not a homogenous association. Whereas the constitution defence report for 2007 takes its data from approximately 27,000 members, the IGMG, according to its own data, has over 87,000 members in Germany and maintains around 323 mosques throughout the country.

The Türkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion (DITIB) [Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs] was not founded until 1984. It has close connections to Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, the Turkish directorate for religious matters. With over 870 member associations, the DITIB is now the largest umbrella association in Germany and represents a version of Islam that focuses on the official lay version of Islam found in Turkey.

Nationwide umbrella organisations embracing different countries of origin

In 1986, the VIKZ, the Islamic World Congress of Germany and others founded the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany as a nationwide umbrella organisation. The Islamic Council was renamed in 1998 as the Islamrat für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland/Islamischer Weltkongress Deutschland (altpreußischer Tradition) e.V. (IRD) [Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany/Islamic World Congress of Germany (old Prussian tradition)], after the VIKZ left back in 1988 and the then AMGT (now IGMG) joined in 1990. To date, with approximately 30 member associations, the latter organisation has dominated the Islamrat, as the association with the largest number of members.

The Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD) [Central Council of Muslims in Germany] evolved in 1994 from the Islamischen Arbeitskreis in Deutschland (IAK) [Islamic Working Group in Germany] founded in 1988. Although amongst others the large Turkish-Islamic associations such as DITIB, VIKZ and AMGT were represented in the IAK, the DITIB and AMGT did not join the Zentralrat (ZMD), partly for legal reasons. The VIKZ also withdrew in the year 2000 causing the multi-ethnic character of the ZMD to become more prominent. In spite of the lower member numbers which resulted, the association, which according to its own data represents approximately 300 mosque communities, has been able to position itself as a contact for the public since 2001. One reason for this is its strong media presence.

The four associations, VIKZ, DITIB, ZMD and IRD, amalgamated in April 2007 to become the Koordinationsrat der Muslime in Deutschland (KRM) [Co-ordinating Council for Muslims in Germany] As a loose consortium, it has assumed the responsibility of representing the majority of Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in Germany that attend mosque and being a centralised contact for the state.

Consortium of Turkish Alevis

The fifth association represented in the German Islam Conference is the Verein Alevitische Gemeinde in Deutschland e.V. (AABF). The AABF was founded in 1986 as an umbrella association and now has approximately 120 member associations and approximately 20,000 registered members. The associations of the AABF in the Länder of North-Rhine Westfalia, Hesse, Berlin and Bavaria have achieved recognition as religious communities in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 3 of the Basic Law. They may therefore offer religious studies as a standard subject in the Länder specified above.

DIK-editorial team, 14.05.2010

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