TurkeyMay 31 2021, 12:03 pm

Turkish-German Association to Remain Part of German State Islamic Education Board

Ger­man media is report­ing that a mosque asso­ci­a­tion con­nect­ed to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment will remain part of an Islam­ic edu­ca­tion advi­so­ry board in the Ger­man state of North-Rhine West­phalia while exclud­ing anoth­er Islam­ic umbrel­la group. Accord­ing to a Qan­tara report:

May 18, 2021 Düs­sel­dorf. The Cen­tral Coun­cil of Mus­lims in Ger­many (ZMD) will no longer be allowed to par­tic­i­pate in the orga­ni­za­tion of Islam­ic reli­gious instruc­tion in North Rhine-West­phalia for the time being. On Mon­day in Düs­sel­dorf, the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion pre­sent­ed the mem­bers of a new com­mis­sion that will be entrust­ed with this task in the future. The six orga­ni­za­tions named do not include the Cen­tral Coun­cil. Edu­ca­tion Min­is­ter Yvonne Gebauer (FDP) did not want to com­ment on the rea­sons. How­ev­er, the Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (DITIB), which is also con­tro­ver­sial, was appoint­ed to the com­mit­tee. The Cen­tral Coun­cil of Mus­lims is cur­rent­ly try­ing to sue its way onto the new com­mis­sion. It is crit­i­cized, among oth­er things, because of its found­ing mem­ber ATIB (Union of Turk­ish-Islam­ic Cul­tur­al Asso­ci­a­tions in Europe). The Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion clas­si­fies the Union with the Gray Wolves right-wing rad­i­cal move­ment, which assumes a racial supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Tur­kic peo­ples. ATIB is still the orga­ni­za­tion with the largest num­ber of mem­bers in the Cen­tral Coun­cil. Nev­er­the­less, the ZMD was pre­vi­ous­ly a mem­ber of an advi­so­ry board that helped deter­mine the con­tent and per­son­nel of Islam­ic instruc­tion in North Rhine-West­phalia. [Trans­lat­ed by DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here.

North-Rhine West­phalia has fea­tured an Islam­ic edu­ca­tion advi­so­ry board since 2012. It has always includ­ed the Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (DITIB), which man­ages over 900 mosques in Ger­many and is linked to the Turk­ish Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs (Diyanet). DITIB’s inclu­sion is like­ly because DITIB is the most promi­nent Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tion, too big to ignore or exclude, and Ger­many does not yet have enough domes­ti­cal­ly trained imams to replace those of DITIB, who are paid by the Turk­ish state. How­ev­er, DITIB’s influ­ence on the board is lim­it­ed as it is mere­ly one of the six vot­ing members.

The Gray Wolves are a right-wing, pan-Turk­ish, ultra­na­tion­al­ist Turk­ish youth and street move­ment found­ed in the 1960s. Ger­many’s Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion describes the Gray Wolves as spread­ing nation­al­ist and right-wing extrem­ist ide­ol­o­gy and hav­ing con­nec­tions to the Turk­ish ultra­na­tion­al­ist Nation­al Action Par­ty (MHP), the AKP’s gov­ern­ment coali­tion part­ner. How­ev­er, the MHP “rejects any organ­ic ties” with the Gray Wolves. A May 2021 EU Par­lia­ment report has called on the EU and its Mem­ber States to con­sid­er plac­ing the Gray Wolves on the EU ter­ror list.

The Cen­tral Coun­cil of Mus­lims in Ger­many (ZMD) is an Islam­ic umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion with mem­ber asso­ci­a­tions mon­i­tored by the Ger­man domes­tic intel­li­gence agency.

Rel­e­vant GIOR report­ing includes:

  • In May 2021, we report­ed that a Ger­man city reject­ed a DITIB mosque con­struc­tion plan.
  • In May 2021, we report­ed that Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and the Turk­ish Defense Min­is­ter met with the heads of DITIB, ATIB, and oth­er groups in Ankara.
  • In April 2021, we report­ed that DITIB claimed pos­i­tive results from a pro­gram to train imams in Ger­many instead of Turkey.
  • In April 2021, we report­ed that Ger­many’s rul­ing par­ty adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion that would dis­con­tin­ue coop­er­a­tion between the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and Islamist groups under obser­va­tion by the domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, which would affect the ZMD.


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