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Blow to Islamic Conference as leading Muslims pull out

DPA/The Local · 13 May 2010, 12:59

Published: 13 May 2010 12:59 GMT+02:00

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The Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) made its surprise announcement Wednesday after several discussions with the Interior Ministry.

“In all of our contacts, we are simply coming up against a brick wall,” said chairman Ayyub Axel Köhler.

The German Islamic Conference between the federal government and Muslim groups is intended to set policies about Islam in Germany for the next three years, with an emphasis on improving religious and social integration of the country's sizeable Muslim population.

Köhler had hailed the first conference, held in 2006, under then Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, a great success.

Köhler stressed the council had come to its difficult decision only after weeks of consideration. But the council was upset that half the 2,500 Mosque-centred communities were not going to be represented at the conference and that the ministry had “gone over the heads of Muslims,” in deciding the themes and constitution of the conference, he said.

The council felt it was “a conference decreed by the federal government” that would be neither binding nor authoritative and therefore amounted to a “debating club.”

The key issues for Muslims were discrimination and Islamophobia.

“We are distressed that there is fear in the community leveled against us. All of this must be central to the political agenda, and that includes hostility to Islam. But all that was ever said to us was: ‘Yes, yes, that will be brought up, we’ll put it under the theme of extremism.'”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière had also rebuffed the central council’s demand for greater recognition as an official religious community.

“They didn’t want to accommodate us at all. An uneasy partner is now gone,” Köhler said.

But de Maizière has stressed he wanted the conference to focus on “practical questions about how the mainstream community and Muslims live together.”

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“The withdrawal of the ZMD is regrettable,” he said, while adding the conference would still be well-attended and would reach the goals that had been set.

However Greens parliamentary leader Volker Beck accused de Maizière of having botched the conference.

“The new meeting of the Islamic conference has failed before it has begun,” he said.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:21 May 13, 2010 by T Gonzaga
Before addressing consequences such as discrimination and Islamophobia, we all need to agree to address the catalysts that brought them about: refusal to assimilate, treating assimilation as capitulation, seeing Western cultures as vile and inferior and a culturally ingrained disdain for integration that is widespread.
18:45 May 13, 2010 by Thames
Don't worry in a few years time the Islamic Conference will be dictating to the Federal Government. Then they can put an end to the resently discovered disease of Islamophobia. It can be replaced by a host of new diseases:

Secularophobia, Christianophobia, Jewishophobia, women-in-publicophobia,

alcoholophobia and so on...
01:03 May 14, 2010 by wetdawg~
If they were smart...they would pull way out...all the way back to Mecca!
17:58 May 14, 2010 by Iftikhar_Ahmad
Human being is a product of his culture, language and faith. There is a positive co-relation between language and culture. In the past they were victim of Paki-bashing in all walks of life by the British society in every walks of life becuase majority of them were not well versed in local accents. Now Muslim youths born and educated by British education sysytm are being victim of terrorism by British establishment. Thousands of them are being searched by Police in streets and many of them are behind the bar without any trial. A lot of Muslim youths are imprisoned by British courts on the slightest excuses. The number of Muslim prisoners is on the increase in British jails. When they come out of jail they will become real criminals and terrorists while British foreign minister has said that Muslims are law abiding and committed citizens.

I am concerned with the education of bilingual Muslim children. I set up the

first Muslim school in London in 1981 and now there are round about 140

Muslim schools and only 11 are state funded. I would like to see each and

every Muslim child to be in a Muslim school.

In the 70s, when I raised ithe issue of bilingualism and Muslim schools, I

was given the impression that British education system does not believe in

bilingualism. According to varities of studies, a child will suffer if

he/she finds himself cut off from his/her cultural and linguistic roots.

Arabic is our religious language and each and every Muslim must be well

versd in Quranic Arabic. This the main reason why I believe that Pakistani

parents must find marriage partners from Pakistan for their children.

Pakistani children and youths suffer more than others because they find

themselves cut off from the literature and poetry. Majority of them are not

even well versed in Standard English. This is the main rason why majority of

Pakistani children leave schools without goood qualification. English is

their economic language while Urdu is their social and emotional and Arabic

is their religious language.

There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim children are in majority.

In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community

schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. There is no place for

a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

Bilingual Muslim children have been in state schools for the last 50 years. They have been suffering from Paki-bashing. They have been unable to develop their confidence and self-esteem due to racism and bullying. This is one of the main reason why they have been unable to achieve good grades. They have been suffering from Identity Crises. They do not know where they belong. Muslim school with bilingual Muslim teachers is only the answer.

Iftikhar Ahmad

London School of Islamics Trust

63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD

21:03 May 14, 2010 by dr.makni49
I live far away from Germany but I did attended a coference in Berlin in May 2008 besides being once on a tour to Hamburg and Berlin in year 2000. I thought the mutual respect among the people, irrespective of his/her ehnicity, was great. I am amazed to see now, mostly Germans talking somewhat harsh about Muslims and at another place about Turks. Some are surprised about the logic to commence negotiations with Muslims by the government, fearing that they would expand in their demands most unreasonable. Remember, the failure to integrate or feel freedom of religion is largely attributed to the majority because history of about last 200 years suggests that minorities in Europe had been unsafe and also out of Europe in Eurasia when Jews, Muslims and Christians were massacred in Imperial Russia, Balkans and Anatolia . The young generation today may not realise now but the research is proving that when miseries of a particular minority spilled beyong a geneartion(s), the gulf could not be bridged. Instead it widened because the sympathies thus generated among those victims and their root cultures were later glorified, exggerated and made more intense to exact revenge as and when opportunity arose. While you may be rich, civilised and knowledgeable, step forward to ascertain the causes of alienation, people feel in Germany despite Germany emerging from smoldering ashes twice during 20th century after tasting grandeur as well adversity. I am convinced if you hug them and win their hearts rather than asking them to integrate or pack off, you the pauper scoundrels, to your own countries of origin, would make a graceful option for Germans as well as the immigrants. Yes, whether Turks or anyone else, if you draw succor from Germany, remain convinced that while staying at your own beliefs and cultures, Germany's collective profile has to be respected. Also do not spit in the plate from where you eat. Thanks and best wishes for German, Turks and other ethnic/religious minoritie in Germany.(Dr.Makni)
23:19 May 14, 2010 by CPT/USA
Nice speech doc.

When one group of peoples wish to settle in another land where their ways and language and culture are considerable different, it stands to reason that these peoples need to adopt much of the ways of their hosts. Or stay out. The problem that I see is that these "other peoples" wish to impose their own belief systems and cultures on their host countries then become angry when they are rebuffed.

This problem isn't Germany's.
02:09 May 15, 2010 by surj
CPT/USA, Agree with you. Where ever the muslims have migrated to in the Western world they have hardly integrated , even after 2ed or 3rd generation, instead they have demanded concessions from the host country. I ask the Dr to name us few muslim countries where non-muslims are given concessions? Coptic Christians of Egypt are not even allowed to repair their won churches, they have to apply to the Govt for that ,and are almost always refused . www.copts.net www.thereligionofpeace.com I will challenge any one out there that Muslims will NEVER integrate into western society in million years. Their Quran tell them so.
19:23 May 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Dr. Makni --

The majority of the people who post on these threads are not German. The bulk of the bigoted ones appear to be right wing Americans with little education and a very narrow world view. Their use of American English reveals them to be American, their grammatical and spelling mistakes reveal their lack of education, and the content of their posts reveals their extreme right wing political beliefs and the narrowness of their world view. Their brand of xenophobia is what is sweeping America today and bears little resemblance to its European counterpart. They are indoctrinated by hatred every day by right wing political commentators and demagogues on American television and radio, and feel impelled to spread that poison to a German website devoted to German issues, even though most of them do not live in Germany. So don't be dismayed.
18:56 May 16, 2010 by wenddiver
What's the matter Pro F$ck didn't get your check from the STASI this morning???

Guys like Pro hate the Americans, because the Amis are a real pain to them DOC. A guy like Pro gets "educated" at a real early age, by being taught the same thing over and over again, in this case the thoughts of Marx and Engels. Once he gets it in his head that there is one way of thinking, hethinks these are his thoughts and the brain always defaults to that way, people like Americans whose moods, ideas and way of doing things constantly change become a real headache.

Guys like Pro define your integration as adopting their leftist ideas in a fight against the rest of German society.

The rest of German society has pretty much rejected guys like pro after reading their Stasi files and tearing down the wall, so pretty much all that's left is going on English laguage sites and boo hooing.

By the way English has always been fluid and changing, try reading "Canterbery tales" and "Beowul"f in old english.
19:05 May 17, 2010 by dr.makni49

You are right. The language #11 has used supports your contention. I am not dismayed at all. I have a few german friends. I know the level of decency they maintain to me also despite that some lobbies are attempting to paint every Muslim as if he/she is carrying nuclear device, dripping terrorist and no American is inclined to think for a while that such episodes could be a third party plot as US was made to attack Iraq for its links with al-Qaeda and reaching almost at final stage of achieving nuclear capability. Whether ashamed or not, those who were trumpeting the loudest about these threats to US, are now admitting that none of the allegation against Iraq turned to be true. Who led America to Iraq cauldron, a futile war, is known to every American but they are so scared that they do not want to confess that they know it. The wheel of the time grinds on.

I respect West German strategic decision to accept their East German brothers who were in low economic profile comparatively but West German embraced them. Recent bailout package to Greece when Germany swallows the thorn to permit EU thrive is another proof of the greatness of the Eoropean in general and Germany in particular. Germany is a very sobering influence on world politics. I wish my friend, #11 knows that realities can not be minced within slangs.

15:06 May 19, 2010 by SkowronekTheLark
wenddiver, while I agree with you on the fatuousness of Prufrock2010's Muslim bootlicking, that is not the Stasi way. East Germans didn't, and to a certain extent still don't, suffer from the putrid cultural anti-Americanism shown here, because they didn't have to suffer the humiliation of being freed against their will and treated well by America. I am West German, living in East Germany for almost four years now and the different mentality amazes me on a daily basis. You can see as well how post-Communist Russia deals with its Muslims. Not an inch of submission and politically correct bootlicking.

I'd bet that Prufrock2010 is an educated West German, probably, but not necessarily, a leftist, but NOT one of the old Stalinist left, rather one of the colourful "bird of paradise" liberal progressives. The West German cultural (as opposed from the East German political) anti-Americanism permeates all educated classes and political hues.

A walk in one of the lesser quarters of an East German city would give dr.makni49 a lasting impression of what our "East German brothers", and specifically the children of the former Stasi-employees, think of Muslims and people of a different hue generally.
20:28 May 19, 2010 by dr.makni49
Thanks STL.

I am very clear about East Germans' perception about Muslims as they were long time part of Communist Russia. It does not surprise me. Also the way, Russia is treating Muslims even now since early forties (North Caucasus) ruthlessly, that might sooth the ire of those who think mild treating of Muslims amounts to bootlicking, makes one of the stuff to prove that massacre and holocaust would remain a threat to recurr during 21st Century because we have not learnt any lesson from the tragedies, minorities have gone through since 18th Century. Stasi is a fraction of factor that might derail the discussion but fact remains that Germany has also been made hostage to its guilt to which it shares no responsibility at all, to the extent that 12 million Germans raped, plundered, murdered(two millions) while evicted from East Germany does not inspire most of Germans to condemn the perpetrators. Mind you, the Soviets were the fond architact of this holocaust AFTER Germany had surrendered. By military jargons a cowardly act but more astonishoing is the Germans' apathy meted to these innocent 12 million victims. Appeasing Stalin in grave thus and call to fix 2.7 million Muslims now who should integrate or quit, makes a sorry parallel. Thanks
00:19 May 20, 2010 by SkowronekTheLark
A bit addleheaded, are you? But let's discuss Germany, the hostage of its guilt. In fact, I think that a fair share of that guilt can be tranfered to -- you've guessed it -- Muslims. In 1933 already, Nazi political groups settled throughout the Arab world, for example Young Egypt, led by Muslim Brotherhood member Gamal Abdel Nasser, later Egyptian President. Young Egypt¦#39;s political slogan "One Folk, One Party, One Leader" is a direct translation from the German. The driving force behind this movement? Contrary to the current politically correct version that the previously innocent and Jew-loving Arabs "learned" antisemitism from the Germans, there is sufficient proof even to justifiedly speculate whether to some extent the history of the European Jews would have taken not quite a disastrous course without Amin el Husseini, who later added "Hadj" to his name, and whose shadow is still looming today.

He was born 1893 in Jerusalem under Ottoman rule. 1914 -1917 he got his first taste of "jihad" and must have found it addictive. As an officer of the Ottoman Empire in Smyrna during the Armenian genocide, he actively participated in the slaughtering of one and a half million Christians by the Ottoman Army.

Back in British Mandate Palestine, Husseini is able to apply the lessons of genocide he had learned to the planned establishment of a Pan-Islamic empire, from which Jews and Christians will be excluded. He stirs up riots in Palestine through the Twenties and Thirties, mainly, but not exclusively, targeted at Jews, including the massacre of the Hebron Jews on 23 and 24 August 1929. The Hebron Jewish community was over 2,000 years old.

Muslims who dare to protest against Hadj Amin's reign of terror are murdered as well, who, in 1931, becomes founder of the World Islamic Congress and starts to build his own strong political base.

1937 Hadj Amin el Husseini visits the German Consul in Jerusalem. He meets among others Adolf Eichmann (whose sense for "Aryan" company must have been a wee bit selective) to discuss "the Jewish question". From then on, Husseini will receive financial and military aid from Nazi Germany. He spends the war safe and sound in Germany, all expenses paid by the Foreign Office.

17:27 May 20, 2010 by dr.makni49
Nice patch work STL.

You are quoting history out of context. Blaming Amin for becoming the cause of miseries wreaked on Jews amounts to expecting a moth to shake the earth.

You are free to maintain your views, rigid and strong. The ongoing massacre of Palestinians by IDF is logically the grudge they maintain because the chief 'Mufti' of Palestine was friendly to Hitler and they had been meeting. So claimed killing of six million Jews (the figures have been disputed by several sources) by your insinuation must also be the Palestinians intrigues. Even docile UN spoke in sympathy for Palestine when IDF used prohibited munitions to kill Palestininan school children.

I am happy that you remember Arminian losses figures but I wish you might as well refresh your statistics about Muslims butchered in Balkans during 18th and 19th to early 20th Century and also about the four wolves who devoured Ottoman's Mecedonia. It was all retaliatory work going on. Unfortunately the more knowledgeable Jews and US neo-cons get myopic because that is the character of prejudice as it resembles to the pupil of an eye. More light is shown to it, more it shrinks. Naturally with such a bias you maintain, further debate would be a futile effort. I wish you read Meresheamer, Jimmy Carter, Nixon, Clinton and the latest book by Cathie Carmichael(herself a Jew). I would expect a German to answer you because to you even if I quote from bible, you would refuse to agree. Thanks
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