How did Islam gain relevance


The migration of Muslim workers and their families has changed the religious landscape in Germany. Islam has become the third largest religious community and thus a tangible phenomenon in social life. The signs of this changed situation are obvious: minarets rise over many cities, Islamic grave fields are set up in communal cemeteries, women and girls wearing headscarves shape the image of some districts - and some lecture halls. The fact that Muslims live in Germany is nothing new. What is new, however, is that their presence has gained socio-political relevance and that they are no longer perceived only as workers, exiles or refugees, but as members of the world's second largest religion. Although Muslims reflect almost all currents in the Islamic world, from reform Islam to Islamism, from mystical piety to religious indifference, from orthopraxia to heresy, they have one thing in common: they try to fulfill their religious duties in a non-Islamic environment. In doing so, they put themselves and those around them to the test. Where the practice of faith is articulated in public, such as in the construction of mosques or the public call to prayer, the protest of an insecure general public makes waves. Diffuse fears in the population - on both sides - make the factual discussion more difficult. While the first truth of the faith in Islam that there is "no God but God" is at least familiar to German majority society from the Judeo-Christian repertoire, it must be familiar with its position on numerous points of Muslim faithpractice still to find. In the struggle for this it will be decided whether there will be integration or separation.

The aim of this expertise is to provide basic information as well as a situation analysis, the limitation of the problem areas and the description of feasible solutions with regard to the essential questions of Islamic everyday life in Germany.

The work is essentially divided into five sections. The introductory description of the topic is followed by an overview of how the Islamic presence is represented in detail.

Taking into account the presentation of the main areas of Muslim religious practice following this study, the third chapter is devoted to the specific questions of Muslim life in everyday German life. On the basis of religious freedom, Muslims in the "diaspora" try to implement their duties. Various religious practices lead to conflicts that are ultimately brought to court because those affected are overwhelmed on the spot. This is how the question of public proclamation becomes the prayer times on a question of weighing up religious freedom against noise protection, that of stupefying butchering sets religious freedom against the animal welfare law. Areas of conflict that primarily affect women tend to elude public discussion. That, for example, Muslim women must expect reprisals if they

Marrying non-Muslims is a legally elusive phenomenon. What makes it more difficult is that a supreme teaching and decision-making body is alien to Islam per se, but the local Muslims are also divided on the recognition of local religious scholars. Turning to various authorities in the Islamic world cannot, however, provide adequate conflict resolution in the long term. The various problem areas deserve a detailed assessment in order to be able to discuss the individual questions appropriately.

The fourth chapter deals with the question of "pastoral care" for Muslims in public institutions as a special case of religious practice. Finally, the last chapter is intended to present possible solutions in the local context. In the foreground is the - not only among Muslims - controversial question of whether From the point of view of the German authorities, this would simplify many things, such as the provision of Islamic religious instruction. However, the church-like structures that characterize a corporation under public law are rejected by not a few Muslims.

The literature on general questions about the practice of Islam is very extensive. No introduction to Islam can do without a presentation of the basic religious practices of Islamic life. [One of the many fundamental introductions to Islam is only the standard work by W. Montgomery Watt and Alford T. Welch, which has remained unsurpassed to this day (Watt / Welch 1980).
In the current literature on Islamic and religious studies, however, treatment of these topics in connection with the migration of Muslims to Western Europe has for a long time not received any attention. Rather, both disciplines have primarily dealt with the historical core areas of Islamic civilization and their expansion to Africa and Asia. Initially, her interest could not focus on the comparatively new and numerically rather insignificant manifestations of Islamic life in Germany.

The first discussion about the migration of foreign workers came from the two Christian churches. The motivation for this arose on the one hand from the changed social situation and on the other hand from internal church processes. In the Catholic field, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) marked a new beginning in the relationship between the Church and Muslims. The Council Declaration Nostra aetate is not limited to the determination of theological similarities and differences, but calls on Christians and Muslims to share social responsibility for shaping the world. [See. Zirker 1989, pp. 38-54; Zehner 1992, pp. 21-64.]
The statements of the World Council of Churches in the 1970s are no less important on the Protestant side. Based on a project for dialogue with people of other faiths from 1967, the consultations held at various levels in 1979 led to the Guidelines for dialogue with people of different religions and Ideologies. Like the above-mentioned Council document on the Catholic side, these guidelines mark a change on the Protestant side in relation to non-Christian religions. [See. ibid. pp. 65-106.]

These fundamental theological decisions have had an impact on the attitude of the churches towards members of other religions in Germany. As in

In the wake of labor migration in the sixties and seventies, workers of the Muslim faith increasingly came to the Federal Republic, and church circles began to strive to meet and come to an understanding with them. Connected with this was the discussion of the various questions of Islamic religious practice in the German environment. On the Catholic side, CIBEDO, founded in Cologne in 1978, was an important information and documentation center on issues relating to Islam in Germany. The institution, which has been based in Frankfurt am Main since 1981, gave the CIBEDO documentation and CIBEDO texts in which for the first time basic information about the Islamic presence in Germany and about individual questions of religious practice was available. Both series were from 1987 to 1999 under the designation CIBEDO contributions to the conversation between Christians and Muslims continued. With these three series, the editors made a wealth of information, documentation and scientific reflections available to those interested in the topic. [An overview of the individual topics of the documentation and texts can be found on the inside and outside cover of the last edition of the texts from November 1986. The abbreviation CIBEDO stands for Christian-Islamic Encounter - Documentation Center.]
The publishing house for Christian-Islamic literature (CIS-Verlag) based in Altenberge near Münster is committed to this concern. The publisher gave the magazine from 1981 to 1989 Current ask which addressed many of the problems of Islamic religious practice that first appeared at the time. [The discussion at that time about the introduction of Islamic religious instruction is partially reproduced, for example, in the articles from 1982 to 1984.]
Also worth mentioning are those that have been published at intervals since 1980 Handouts. They cover the issues that may arise with regard to Muslims in different areas such as school, prison, hospital and funeral services. [See. Judge 1980; Khoury / Irskens / Wanzura 1981; Wanzura 1982; Ders. 1990; Lemmen 1999a.]
On the Protestant side, too, efforts were made to take account of the changed social and religious conditions and to provide information about Muslims and their lives by issuing appropriate publications in order to promote understanding with them. The External Office of the Evangelical Church in Germany issued a handout in 1974 Muslims in the Federal Republic which, in addition to basic information about Islam, contained a number of practical suggestions for meeting Muslims in various areas of life. This first font was soon followed by others, which the Otto Lembeck publishing house in the series Contributions to work with foreigners (later: Intercultural contributions) published. In addition to general questions about meeting and working with Muslims, they also dealt with special topics such as marriages with Muslims, Christian and Islamic festivals or Turkish popular piety. [See. Fingerlin / Mildenberger 1983; Micksch 1983; Mildenberger / V cking 1984; Haas 1986; Micksch / Mildenberger 1988; Ders. 1990.]
Under the title Information Islam The United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany and the Church Office of the Evangelical Church in Germany jointly published a series of 24-part leaflets that briefly and concisely provided information on the most diverse questions of Islamic faith and life. The leaflet series provided the text basis for the paperback with the name published by these two churches What everyone from Islam must know, which is now in its fifth edition. [See. United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany / Church Office of the Evangelical Church in Germany 1996.]
The council of the Evangelical Church in Germany has finally dealt with questions of coexistence with Muslims in the framework

a handout dealing with theological principles as well as the legal framework for Muslim religious practice and various individual questions. [See. Church Office of the EKD 2000.]

In spite of this remarkable abundance of writings on Islam and the life of Muslims in Germany, it should be noted that, viewed in society as a whole, only a modest contribution could be made to an understanding of the basic religious practices of Muslims. For interreligious reasons, the churches began to deal with questions of Islamic life in Germany at a time when the issue did not play the role it has today in the broader public. Despite their sometimes considerable content, the writings they edited were mostly reserved for a small readership due to the small number of copies and found - with the exception of the work What everyone should know about Islam - not widely used. It is therefore not surprising that the editors have now suspended most of the series. What is remarkable, however, is the comparatively large number of contributions by Muslim authors in the publications mentioned, who were thus given the opportunity for the first time to comment on the relevant questions. [Both the publications of CIBEDO and those of the CIS publishing house contain numerous contributions by Muslim authors.]

The interest in the practice of religion by Muslims increased the moment their communities and institutions began to be recognized in the community environment. The larger and smaller mosques, which had existed for years, caught the attention of the city administrations when they increasingly came to the public with their concerns. A number of city administrations therefore commissioned studies and reports on the Islamic communities and associations in their area of ​​responsibility, which sometimes provide very detailed information about the various facets of Muslim life. Studies from the following cities are available so far: Hamburg (1990), Cologne (1992), Berlin (1993 / 1999), eat (1995), Bremen (1995), Munich (1996), Frankfurt am Main (1996), Mannheim (1996) and Duisburg (without year). [See. Mih iyazgan 1990; Lier 1992; Yonan 1993; Jonker / Kapphan 1999; Center for Turkish Studies 1995b; Frese / Hannemann 1995; Anderson 1996; Office for Multicultural Affairs of the City of Frankfurt am Main 1996; Foreign Resident Officer 1996; Workers Welfare, District Association Duisburg / City of Duisburg o.J.]
The value of this work lies in the attempt to present the various Islamic organizations and the religious activities they have developed in the respective communal context. In some respects they are supplemented by the studies for the federal states commissioned by the state authorities at the Center for Turkish Studies Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. [See. Center for Turkish Studies 1995a; That. 1997. While the responsible ministry withdrew the study intended for Hesse soon after it was published, the study for North Rhine-Westphalia has now seen a third revised edition.]
As knowledgeable as the work on Muslim communities in certain cities or federal states may be in detail, they remain essentially related to the description and analysis of the living conditions found, with questions of the collective practice of religion in the foreground. In contrast, aspects of individual religiosity and the theological contexts behind the individual manifestations of the practice of faith are largely disregarded. A number of religious and Islamic studies in recent years have been devoted to precisely this.

As early as 1985, the Catholic religious scholar Adel Theodor Khoury had in his work Islamic minorities in the diaspora Proposed solutions, which the classic

cal legal system for Muslims outside the Islamic world. The author first presents the requirements of Islamic law and then transfers them to different areas of life. Together with Ludwig Hagemann, Khoury takes up the topic in the book published in 1997 Are Muslims allowed to stay in live in a non-Islamic country? again on. In addition to historical statements by Islamic scholars on fundamental and individual issues, the work also contains statements by contemporary scholars from the Islamic world. The transfer of the results to the local conditions remains tied to the theoretical question of the study. The Islamic scholar Peter Heine, on the other hand, published his in 1994 Culture etiquette for non-Muslims a specific guide for various areas of Muslim everyday life. In addition, he addresses these questions in his book Crescent moon over German roofs from 1997 with a view to the special living conditions in Germany. The religious scholar Ursula Spuler-Stegemann undertakes an equally extensive description and assessment of Islamic life in a multitude of different aspects in her book Muslims in Germany from 1998. Her work is rightly considered to be the most comprehensive and significant representation of the subject at present.

In addition to these more recent Islamic and religious studies works, the works by Muslim authors that are now available must not be ignored, as one can expect authentic access to questions of Islamic religious practice from them. Apart from a large number of articles in various Islamic newspapers and magazines that appeared on the occasion of current disputes, two noteworthy writings from the last few years should be mentioned. In 1996, the later chairman of the Islamic Religious Community of Hesse, Amir Zaidan, presented his Introduction to Islamic acts of worship in front. In 1998 the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers published the book written by Hasan Arikan The concise Ilmihal which is a textbook on the various religious practices of Muslims.

The discussions about individual aspects of Islamic religious practice, which have been occurring at intervals since the beginning of the 1990s, however, show the need for further clarification processes. The sometimes very emotional disputes resulted on the one hand in a flood of articles and letters to the editor in the respective local press.On the other hand, there have been a number of fundamental contributions on individual topics, which, however, can no longer do without taking into account the legal dimensions of the event. [The contributions are dealt with in detail in the respective context.]
Recourse to religious freedom in connection with individual questions of Islamic religious practice inevitably leads to a review of the validity and scope of this claim. Wherever there is a conflict with other basic rights or simple law, a balance of interests must be sought in terms of practical concordance. If this agreement does not succeed, it is left to the administrative courts to rule on matters relating to the practice of Islam. In the past decade alone, this has been the case in almost 30 cases in various instances. The court rulings are - if they are accessible - an indispensable source for the legal assessment of the context. [The individual judgments appear in the relevant places in the third chapter. A compilation of all decisions known to the author can be found in the appendix.]
Even if they cannot replace the social controversy, they are an expression of the endeavor to classify the questions of Islamic religious practice in the religious legal order of the Federal Republic. Find accordingly

There are also increasing contributions to the problem in question in the legal literature. [See. Loschelder 1986; Stamp 1988; Walter 1989; Schnapp / Dudda 1992; Brandhuber 1994; Muckel 1995; Ders. 1997; Otting 1997; V lpel 1997; Oebbecke 1998; Muckel 1999; Tillmanns 1999; Raw 2000.]
Finally, the numerous statements made by individual Muslims or their organizations on the respective questions of their religious practice should not be ignored. They contain the irreplaceable reasons and arguments from the Muslim side, which are irreplaceable for the content-related discussion. [The relevant documents for the discussion can be found at the appropriate places in the text.]
Finally, it should be mentioned that the subject of Islam in Germany - after a hearing by the CDU / CSU parliamentary group on June 15, 1999 - became the subject of a major inquiry, which the federal government is expected to answer at the end of 2000. [See. CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag in 1999.]

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | November 2001