• Germany's news in English

Islamic studies gain foothold in state schools

The Local · 22 Dec 2011, 09:00

Published: 22 Dec 2011 09:00 GMT+01:00

There have been several pilot projects to teach principals of the faith to German pupils, who are offered the option religious instruction in most state schools. But a vote by the NRW parliament will give it a more permanent foothold until at least 2018, when the effectiveness of the instruction will be comprehensively evaluated.

Although there is demand for the courses – there are about 300,000 Muslim students in the state’s schools – Islamic studies classes have been controversial throughout Germany.

But supporters have argued that offering approved classes at about 130 state schools by vetted teachers could encourage the flourishing of a more moderate version of Islam among German youth.

State Education Minister Sylvia Löhrmann said the parliamentary vote represented a “sign of more integration” adding that North Rhine Westphalia could be “a good example” for other states.

But there appears to be some discomfort among lawmakers about the idea. Although the Greens and the centre-right Christian Democrats and centre-left Social Democrats supported the parliamentary vote, the socialist Left party voted against it, and the pro-business Free Democrats abstained.

Officials have emphasised that the classes are held in German and are offered only by specially trained teachers.

Story continues below…

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:43 December 22, 2011 by bugger
Legally, the state and the church are separated in Germany.

But somehow, this obviously still does not work.

No need for "religion" as a school subject.
10:36 December 22, 2011 by Jibzy
Bugger: I dont think you understand the difference between secularism and teaching religion in school. Difference between church/mosque/Synagouge and state means that law making would not be influenced by any particular religious scripture and teaching religion in school implies that it would be understood by the school children.

I think this is a very warm, welcoming step by the German government, thus the German people. Any Muslim who still complains should pack up their bags and get lost back to their whateveristan.
12:42 December 22, 2011 by storymann
Religion is a sanctified subject in German schools, both my children take it and like it. Offering Islamic studies as an alternative to those students that are not Christians is a positive move towards integration.
12:43 December 22, 2011 by zeddriver
I support giving more information to students.

But! How far will the school go. Will they teach the difference between the moderate vs radical form of each religion? And how the radical vs moderate forms got their start? Or will they only speak of the good things and leave out the bad things concerning each religion. One has to be careful.

We have a saying in the US. If you want to start a fight at the dinner table. Just start talking about politics or religion

information is a good thing. So long as it is not turned into misinformation by those wishing to be politically correct or morally/religiously corrupt.
12:51 December 22, 2011 by boopsie
Information is indeed a good thing. Teaching kids in schools about the consequences of any german adoption of Sharia law can only be a good thing.
14:35 December 22, 2011 by The Man
Where does one draw the line? What happens when the Rosicrucians, Jehovas Witnesses, Pagans and plethora of other groups each demand their share of religious education time in school?

On balance it is probably a good thing, because if nothing else it might reduce the attactiveness of the militant Muslim schools...
16:28 December 22, 2011 by raandy
I think the obvious answer is you remove all religion from the schools as they have in the USA.

They use to read from the bible when I was in school we had Jewish and other non christian religions present but no one was complaining at that time at least in my school. It was the non believers that accomplished the removal through the court systems. It use to be that the majority ruled once upon a time long long ago.
21:23 December 22, 2011 by Gretl
With declining attendance, one wonders why the populous puts up with their tax dollars going to support the various religions and religious classes in school. Why isn't the religion providing for sectarian indoctrination classes? Sounds like a free rider issue to me.
17:56 December 23, 2011 by nathan almond
Why not do as we Americans and other countries do and separate out religious teaching and the teaching of the quest for truth, i.e. science. There is sufficient outside religious domiciles to permit full time teaching one's favorite dogma. Let the schools teach course about religions, all religions, their dogmas, their truths, their falsehoods, their belief in the god of love god of war. How religion has influenced the very best and the worst in humankind. Make the schools and the state bastions in the search for truth and that which is based on factual matter.
18:43 December 23, 2011 by raandy
nathan almond ya I agree religion is the cause of most problems followed by greed and then power.

but for many people it is salvation and a life line ,so let it live it at least gives some people values and reason and a positive direction in their lives.
04:26 December 24, 2011 by Betty L
you will be sorry about this
06:32 December 25, 2011 by PierceArrow
The religion that causes the MOST problems in the world is atheism (aka secular humanism). Just ask the victims of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, the North Korean Kims, and other Communist dictators!

Islam, though, is a close second in causing problems. I wonder if the Islamic Studies teachers in the German schools will tell the truth about Hajj Amin al-Hosseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1920 to 1939. Al-Hosseini was a friend of Adolf Hitler, and after he escaped from British Palestine at the onset of World War II, he aided and encouraged Hitler in the killing of Jews and Christians in Nazi-occupied territories.
04:04 December 26, 2011 by Ich
If the truth is taught about Islam, it would fine, as a course, like any other course.

However, I cannot see that happening.

We have had professors run out of college in the U.S. by Muslim students who didn't like the academic "version" of Islam, which tended to be more factual than some anticipated.

In today's world, no one can afford to not know what Islam really is, which is exactly why content of a course like this will pobably turn into a political brooha.
11:22 February 7, 2012 by emejota
This is highly stupid. Has anyone ever senn what is tought? No, you can look up such an Islamic religious lesson on youtube. Just watch out for it. How children are indoctrinated to believe the others are "kuffar" and what they do is "kuffar".

The books offered for their teaching is highly offensive towards Jews and atheists in first place and Christians in second. This being taught on German schools is frightening. With islamisation on schools we are getting a step forwards to totalitarian teachings and thinkings.

NO religious indoctrination should take place in schools, neither Christian, nor Muslim nor anything else. It is NOT the secular State's duty to indoctrinate children with religious bias.
13:49 April 24, 2012 by soros
Religious studies should not be taught in isolation but part of a larger scope that includes other religions. Courses should be in Comparative Religion or something similar, not exclusively one belief.

I see more intelligence in that than in students of any one faith solidifying their identities in ignorance of Protestantism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism or Catholicism. Let's open the scope in education, not narrow it down to confirm particular ideologies.
14:18 December 14, 2012 by qopel
I went to school in Bavaria and had to take religion. There was even a cross hanging on the classroom wall. I found it very disturbing that religion was being pushed as a legitimate thing to teach in a public school, being that there is no evidence of any God.
Today's headlines
VW to pay US suppliers $1.2 bln over Dieselgate
Volkswagen model vehicles on a dealer lot in Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Cj Gunther/Picture Alliance/DPA

German auto giant Volkswagen has agreed to pay US suppliers $1.2 billion to settle claims emanating from the "Dieselgate" pollution scandal, the firm and suppliers said late Friday.

This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd