German Islam Conference contributes to social cohesion
07 December 2022
The meeting of the Islam Conference in Berlin included a keynote speech by Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser and a panel discussion on Muslim life and civic engagement in Germany.
The first official meeting of the German Islam Conference to take place during the current parliamentary term was held today at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community in Berlin. It was attended by some 160 people representing Germany’s Muslim community, federal ministries, federal states, municipalities, Christian churches, the Jewish community, the academic community and other areas of society. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser gave a speech presenting the priorities of the current phase of the German Islam Conference. The event featured panel discussions and lectures on topics such as combating Islamophobia, the training of imams and trends in civic engagement by Muslims.
Federal Minister Faeser said:
“The fact that we are now talking to each other rather than about each other is one of the most important achievements of the German Islam Conference. The Conference is the main forum for dialogue and cooperation between the government and Muslims in Germany.
It is very important to me that the diversity of Muslim life should be reflected in the current phase of the German Islam Conference, which we are launching at today’s event – because Muslim life in Germany has become more diverse in recent years. New initiatives and forums have emerged. Young people and Muslim women are becoming better organised and making their voices heard. Muslim life is a part of normal life in Germany. It goes on in all kinds of contexts, for example in religious communities, social work, youth associations, the academic community, the media, and of course the Muslim umbrella organisations. It is this broad spectrum of activity that will characterise the Islam Conference in its current phase.
We will combat Islamophobia. We want to help Muslims and Muslim communities to participate in society. And we want to see progress in the training of imams. All these objectives are set out in the government’s Coalition Agreement, and will therefore be key parts of the Conference’s agenda.”
Since 2006, the German Islam Conference has been the Federal Government’s main forum for dialogue with Muslims in Germany. In its foundational phases (from the 16th to 18th parliamentary terms), objectives were formulated, joint decisions were taken and recommendations made in key areas of religious policy (e.g. pastoral care and guidance by Muslim clergy, social welfare work, Islamic religious instruction and Islamic theology).
Since the 19th parliamentary term, the Islam Conference has been building upon this foundation by working on concrete, practical projects as circumstances require. It has done this using flexible structures, a variety of event formats, and constellations appropriate to the subject areas in question (the “implementation phase” of the Conference).
Among other things, a workshop-talk was held prior to this event as part of a participatory process involving representatives from the Muslim umbrella organisations and representatives of Muslim civil society more broadly.
More information on the German Islam Conference is available here.