Imams are to be trained in Germany in the future

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Updated November 29, 2020, 11:06 am

Islamic associations are often criticized as the “extended arm” of governments in Muslim countries. Imams are mostly trained abroad and often represent a conservative image of Islam. A new initiative now wants to counter this and train imams in Germany in the German language. They should be made familiar with an image of Islam that is compatible with the Basic Law.

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The majority of the imams working at mosques in Germany are currently from abroad posted. The federal government and the state of Lower Saxony want to counteract this. With the new Islam College in Osnabrück you are funding a project that aims to strengthen imam training in Germany.

You should Knowledge of Islam mediate, but also lead religious services in their Lifestyle advise and Pastoral care operate. But many imams lack that Access to everyday reality and the problems of parishioners. Because most imams are im foreign countries trained and from there for a limited time posted to Germany.

The Mosque landscape is in Germany inconsistent. Some houses of prayer of the nationwide more than 2,000 Muslim communities are of independent associations operated. Many belong to one of the numerous nationwide Islamic associations. By far the largest association and operator of mosques in Germany is the Turkish Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion, in short DITIB.

Associations train their imams themselves

Some larger associations have already started to partially staff their mosques in Germany to train. The Association of Islamic Cultural Centers, Milli Görüs and DITIB run appropriate training programs. However, in some cases it is not without problems that these are each designed by a single association.

The DITIB is from Turkish Religious Presidium Diyanet dependent. The association has been accused of being the extended arm of the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Germany influence exercise. Milli Görüs is due anti-democratic tendencies observed by the protection of the constitution.

In Osnabrück the connection-crossing Islamic College Germany (IKD) begin training imams. The initiators are open to cooperation with the Islamic associations. So far, the project has tended to be at smaller organizations like the Central Council of Muslims, the Alliance of Maliki Congregations and the Islamic Community of Bosniaks.

Imam training completely in German

According to the chairman of the board Esnaf Begić, the unique selling point of the Islamic College is that the teaching only in German should take place. Most of the programs that have existed in Germany so far are in the languages ​​of Country of origin of the associations held.

“This means that everyone else who does not speak Turkish, for example, has access to it Training opportunities denied “, so Begić in an interview with our editorial team. In addition, the imams should better reach the younger generation because young Muslims often speak “German better than their supposed mother tongue.”

The seminar doesn’t just include theological content. It aims to focus on different aspects of the participants Church work to prepare. Competencies in the Pastoral care, pedagogy, political education and Social work mediated. Per year should 20 to 30 interested parties be included.

Islam College open to cooperation with associations

According to Begić, the IKD does not see itself as competition to the association’s own offers, but as complement. The college is expressly open to Cooperations with the existing programs of the Islamic associations.

The IKD is from Bund and from State of Lower Saxony promoted. The corresponding application processes have not yet been completed, but the Federal Ministry of the Interior is planning to support the project with a grant of around one million euros in the year to support. The Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture wants one in the first five years Start-up funding Afford. Above all, it is about the creation of a speaker position, said a spokeswoman on request.

Imams are “as mediators and multipliers for the Integration and the promotion of social cohesion really important. A large number of Muslims who are already in the third or fourth generation in our country want and live integration, “the state ministry said.

Ahmad Mansour sees shortcomings in the implementation

As far as this integration task is concerned, the extremism expert Ahmad Mansour is ambivalent about the project: “The approach is good, we have to go in this direction. But when it comes to implementation not everything until the end thought, but it remains with a certain Symbol activity“says the psychologist who has been working in the field of extremism prevention for many years.

The missing step is the consideration: “How can we implement this wonderful project in such a way that the actual goal is achieved modern, liberals, open, democratic understanding of Islam to promote that especially young people, German, democrat with respect for the Basic Law and being a Muslim at the same time. “

The problem is that the federal government has decided to cooperate with conservative Islamic associations put. For this one has to understand the background that the associations are not comparable with the Catholic or Protestant Church, but as private initiatives were founded.

Mansour calls for “intra-Muslim debate”

The majority of Muslims in Germany do not identify with an association. It is often criticized that many associations have one conservative interpretation of Islam while promoting a majority of the believers more liberal understanding of religion has.

To prevent extremism, one must intra-Muslim debate about problematic understandings of Islam that contradict values ​​such as equal rights and freedom of speech stand, be stimulated, demands Mansour. Many associations are involved in this substantive dispute not ready.

On the other hand, there are already initiatives, mosques and Muslim scholars who advocate an understanding of Islam that im Consistent with the free and democratic basic order stands. These have been approved by the government so far too little consideration.

Sources used:

  • Conversation with Dr. Esnaf Begić, chairman of the board of the Islamkolleg Deutschland e. V.
  • Conversation with Ahmad Mansour, founder of “MIND prevention” (Mansour initiative for the promotion of democracy and the prevention of extremism) and author of several books on the subject of extremism and racism
  • Statement by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture upon request from our editorial team
  • German Bundestag: Status of mosques in Germany file number WD 10 – 3000 – 083/19
  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Muslim Associations in Germany – An Overview
  • Deutschlandfunk: DITIB – Ankara’s influence on the German mosque association
  • Press release Islamkolleg

In Germany, the one million corona infections mark has been exceeded. As the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Friday morning, citing information from the health authorities, a total of 1,006,394 Covid 19 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. Photo credit: imago images / Seeliger



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