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Government's Islamic Conference gets off to a rocky start

DPA/The Local · 17 May 2010, 15:02

Published: 17 May 2010 15:02 GMT+02:00

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Last week the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) made the surprise announcement that it would not attend the event to facilitate talks between the federal government and Muslim groups, citing the Interior Ministry’s supposed failure to properly address Islamophobia.

Meanwhile the ministry disqualified the Islamic Council (IR) because top officials in one of its major member organisations, Millî Görüş (IGMG), are under criminal investigation.

Despite the absence of some of the country’s most important Muslim representatives, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said he hoped the conference, intended to set policies about Islam in Germany for the next three years and encourage integration of the country's sizeable Muslim population, would begin numerous projects and initiatives.

“Only then will the Islamic Conference develop an important practical impact,” the conservative Christian Democrat said.

Fellow party member and integration commissioner Maria Böhmer told broadcaster Südwestrundfunk said she hoped the ZMD would return to the conference.

“Those who don’t sit at the table can’t join the conversation,” she said, adding that combating Islamophobia was indeed on the agenda.

ZMD chairman Ayyub Axel Köhler alleged last week that the ministry had “gone over the heads of Muslims” in deciding the themes and constitution of the conference.

“We are distressed that there is fear in the community levelled against us,” he said. “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.'”

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The first conference, held in 2006 under then Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, was hailed a great success in efforts to address concerns about the integration of the country’s four million Muslims – among whom about half have German citizenship.

De Maizière has reportedly revamped the programme by focussing on integration through participation.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:52 May 17, 2010 by whjud
I applaud the efforts made by Germany to conduct dialogs with the various Muslim groups. However, if in Germany as here in the Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania, the various Islamic/Muslim groups appear not so much to integrate with as to convert the Non-Islamic/Muslim peoples to the Islam. After 9/11, the Islamic groups around the City Of Philadelphia shuttered their doors and kept to themselves. When there were, occasions that various Islamic organizations and group chose to make public statements. There were no mention of Jihad but no mention of reconciliation or opening dialogs with the Non-Islamic/Muslin world. Yet while no mention was made of Jihad, the various Islamic groups were committed to Jihad. Jihad in any form is not open dialog; it is a temper tantrum for positioning and forcing Non-Islamic/Muslin groups to the Islamic way of life.

The Law of Sharia (Shar¦#39;a) is not a part of Western Culture, nor should it be. Too many people in Western Culture(s) has given their lives for personal freedom. Why would you want to give that up for the Law of Sharia (Shar¦#39;a)? The rights and privileges guaranteed to citizens of Germany would be gone in one fell swoop by the Law of Sharia (Shar¦#39;a).

From Gulphmills, Penna.
01:08 May 22, 2010 by BierBlitzer
1683. Vienna. 2010. Western Civilization.
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