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Schavan says school Islam lessons improve integration

The Local · 25 Jul 2010, 14:42

Published: 25 Jul 2010 14:42 GMT+02:00

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She said learning lessons about Islam had been very constructive in schools, leading to better understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim students.

“Of course I know about the fears of many Germans in connection with this topic,” she told Focus magazine. “But I see it as experienced religious freedom, as a dialogue between Christianity and Islam.”

She said there was no way such lessons were about installing Koran schools, or offering a platform to radical Islamists.

“No, we want to use this to bring Islam out of the back yard and make it transparent,” she said.

Schavan first introduced Islam lessons in Baden-Württemberg when she was culture minister.

“My experience was very positive,” she said. “The acceptance of Muslims by Germans clearly increased. This was also to do with the fact that the lessons were held in German and no secret was made about it."

She also supported the idea of university courses in Islamic studies.

“We will soon be educating Imams at German universities, who will then work in mosques as preachers. We need leaders there who have learned about their religion scientifically and thus also critically,” she said.

The minister also said that Islamic communities in Germany should understand themselves as part of German society.

Story continues below…

“So, no isolation, rather the greatest possible level of transparency. Only in this way can prejudices be reduced,” she said.

Yet Schavan was critical of burkas, saying they made integration much more difficult.

“Is the burka an expression of self-determination or rather much more the expression of a fundamentalist attitude? I find clothes should not make a person impossible to recognise. Fear and uncertainty comes from such things,” she said.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:44 July 25, 2010 by jerryzeigler
Na ja...god is great ! another social engineering experiment in creating an Islamic social and cultural caliphate in Western Europe...
19:37 July 25, 2010 by michael4096
right on, jerry!

if ignorance is good enough for us its good enough for those kids - we didn't get where we are today by understanding people!
20:32 July 25, 2010 by nabs
please read http://www.islamicsolutions.com/islam-a-quick-introduction/
00:13 July 26, 2010 by jerryzeigler
well thank you michael4096...it's becoming increasingly difficult to exercise my ever-diminishing constitutional 1st Amendment prerogative...
00:54 July 26, 2010 by whatzup
The Caliphate is coming to western europe as Christianity becomes increasingly bankrupt and these classes should serve as as a child's introduction to Germanys future.
02:55 July 26, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
This is actually a bit um...well, this article is terrible, actually.

The topic is Islam classes for Muslim students, not mandatory Islam classes for Christian students. Dear God, the pitchforks would be out faster than you could blink, if that were the case.

And I for one thinks it's a good idea, since it allows the school to introduce moderate Islam rather than this fundamentalist non-sense that the extremists are spouting. If you consider it in the long-term, it worked quite effectively at de-radicalizing Christendom in Germany and ending the constant conflict between Catholics and Lutherans.
04:54 July 26, 2010 by nepo77
Religion shouldn't be part of the school in first place
05:35 July 26, 2010 by wood artist
While school might be the wrong place to do this, the idea is clearly a good one. How many people, in any country, simply fear those who are perceived as "different" without knowing a single fact about them. They form their opinions based upon rumors and half-truths and may never seek any "real information." In the US, we've seen this with Blacks, with gays and lesbians, and with any number of other groups, most recently Muslims.

Assuming you don't automatically discard all religions, there is much to be admired in the tenets of Islam. That said, there are clearly other issues that cannot be ignored. Perhaps the worst is that mainstream Muslims don't "seem" to be upset with the radicals. Is that a problem with the way the media reports the news, or is that an accurate statement?

Personally I have no idea, but I do believe that petty fears might be lessened if people learned what is behind "those strange beliefs" that they blindly attribute to others.

08:11 July 26, 2010 by Mizzlsd
I'm not sure if it was typical of all schools in England, but when we did R.E (Religious Education) we learnt about all the religions. Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, etc.

Do they do this in German schools?
09:08 July 26, 2010 by freechoice
Do they have Bible Study in German schools now?

Why do they only allowed Islamic lessons in schools?

This is unfair...
12:11 July 26, 2010 by michael4096
..my ever-diminishing constitutional 1st Amendment prerogative..
is that the one that says "you have the right to remain silent but anything you do say may be laughed at?"
15:42 July 26, 2010 by saucymugwump
Der Grenadier aus Aachen wrote: The topic is Islam classes for Muslim students, not mandatory Islam classes for Christian students.

No, that is NOT what the article was about.

Schavan "said learning lessons about Islam had been very constructive in schools, leading to better understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim students." This sentence is quite clear: she is talking about Islam lessons for all people.

However, I wonder what these lessons will consist of. Will it be the usual nonsense pretending that Muhammad was the same kind of person as Jesus? Jesus was a pacifist, but Muhammad told Muslims to spread Islam by the sword.

Jesus preached his lessons of non-violence, but if someone refused to accept his teachings, he would move on. Muhammad instructed Muslims to invite someone to join Islam. If they refused, Muslims were to either collect the jizya (a tax on infidels often collected in a humilating manner) or fight them.

Will these classes compare the early Christians and early Muslims? For example, Saints Perpetua and Felicitas were two martyred women. Perpetua was such a believer that after being mortally wounded in the ring, she grabbed the hand of the young gladiator assigned to dispatch her and guided his sword to her neck because his hand was trembling. Compare this to early Muslims who invaded the Iberian Peninsula by force in the late 600s and occupied it until the end of the 1400s.
18:01 July 26, 2010 by michael4096
@saucy - whatever is taught, I certainly hope it is less prejudiced than your rant..

- the christian bible is only a few percent the words of jesus - the other 97% contains things at least as vicious as anything in the koran

- whatever jesus did, christians certainly do not 'move on' when someone disagrees with them - if there was some sort of competition for which religion can force-convert the most, christianity would be in the finals

- muslims invaded the iberian peninsula, christians re-invaded the iberian peninsula (after 800 years we can call it a muslim state), christians at around the same time also invaded the south american continent and slaughtered millions of inhabitants for the glory of god

you are comparing *your* flavour of christianity against *your* idea of islam. Perhaps you should attend a few of schavan's lessons and broaden your horizons
00:24 July 27, 2010 by Nenette
The wording of this article is a bit unclear. As #6 already said, Schavan suggests that schools introduce Islam lessons for Muslim children, similar to the Catholic and Protestant religious education that already exists in German schools.


10:52 July 27, 2010 by LancashireLad
For those of you who don't have children at a German school, let me simply explain what Schavan is proposing. When a child is registered at a school, the parents are asked which form of religious education they want for the child. The choices at the moment are "Catholic", "Protestant" or "Ethics", the latter not professing a specific religious bias (I hope - because that is what we chose.).

Schavan's proposal is to add Islam to the list. There is no proposal to introduce mandatory religious teaching.

Before some "likes-to-think-of-him/herself-as" bright spark shouts "Hey, why not let the child chose?", my son is 5 years old. The words "Catholic", "Protestant" and "Ethics" have no meaning for him. How is he supposed to chose?
20:41 July 27, 2010 by Bishopbayern
Europe is christian and should always remain so. Christianity is tolerant and forgiving so we dont need these other 'ethics' lessons. Islam has no place in the european classroom.
21:46 July 27, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

Oh come on. Christendom is no more tolerant than Islam is. Yes, it's less common these days for Christians to be blood-thirsty murdering holy warriors than Islamists, but I might remind you that it used to be the exact opposite, and it was turned around at least twice more before that. All religions that claim absolute truth have an innate danger of turning towards extremism, and the majority reason that Christendom is tempered today is because we're insanely rich. The fatter the belly the duller the temper. Don't come spouting this non-sense.
12:31 July 28, 2010 by LancashireLad
@Bishopbayern (aka. Mixa?)

"we don't need these other 'ethics' lessons. Islam has no place in the european classroom"

Very tolerant.

Oh, and if christianity is tolerant, please explain "excommunication" to me.
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