Muslims In Germany Angered That Government Sponsored Conference About Their Community Is Focusing On Terrorism
May 6, 2013
OnIslam & Newspapers
"The conference only makes sense as a dialogue with Muslim religious communities," Erol Pürlü of the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers (VIKZ) which says it represents 300 Muslim communities nationwide, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in a report cited by The Local.de.
German Islam Conference Under Fire
German Islam Meeting Sparks Criticism
Taking place next week, the agenda of the German Islamic Conference has drawn the criticism of Muslim leaders across Germany.
The agenda, drafted by the interior ministry, puts terrorism as a key topic for talks.
Though his organization has accepted its invitation to attend, Pürlü made it clear that expectations were low.
Kenan Kolat, chairman of Germany's Association of Turkish Communities (TGD), voiced similar concern.
"In its current form, it no longer has any purpose," he said.
The conference was established by then-interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble in 2006 to improve the working relationship between the government and Muslim communities.
Topics discussed at subsequent meetings have included plans to put Islam on an equal footing with the Church, as well as Muslim religious education and the construction of mosques.
Though it was first proposed with the aim of promoting dialogue between the government and Muslim communities, the event has witnessed a loss of support over stalled talks and lack of progress.
Making a shift towards issues of security, several prominent Muslim organizations have pulled out of the talks in the past two years.
Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany said the conference needed an overhaul.
Ali Kizilkaya, chairman of the Islamic Council of Germany, described the conference as a "train travelling in the wrong direction."
Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.
Germany's daily Der Spiegel had warned last August that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.
According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer "a Germany without Islam."