German media is reporting that the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) has won a court victory to continue to teach religious education in collaboration with a German state. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung report:
July 2, 2021, Wiesbaden (dpa/lhe) — In the dispute over Islamic religious instruction in Hesse, the Turkish mosque association DITIB has achieved a success before the Wiesbaden Administrative Court. According to the decision published on Friday, the suspension of the so-called confession-oriented Islamic religious education in cooperation with DITIB by the state of Hesse was not in conformity with the law (case reference: 6K 1234/20.wi). According to a court spokesman, the state now has one month to appeal the decision to the Hessian Administrative Court. A spokesman for the Ministry of Culture said that the state has a high interest in clarifying the conflict in the last instance. The reasons given by the administrative court are now being examined. However, there is much to suggest that appeals will then be lodged with the Administrative Court. In Hesse, this confession-oriented Islamic religious education has been offered in cooperation with DITIB since the 2013/14 school year. In April 2020, the Ministry of Education suspended these classes from the new school year, citing doubts about the association’s suitability as a cooperation partner. It was questionable whether the necessary independence from the Turkish state existed. [Translated by DeepL with edits]
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The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) manages over 900 mosques in Germany. At the same time, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) determines the theological guidelines for imams’ sermons, and the Turkish consulate pays their salaries. DITIB, however, maintains that it is independent of the Turkish state. German politicians have sought to have imams trained in Germany instead of sent over from Turkey in part to reduce Turkey’s influence in the country. Other GIOR reporting on DITIB has included:
- In July, we reported that DITIB chose not to participate in creating an imam training center financed by the German state.
- In July, we reported that the chairman of a local DITIB branch has said that the group only canceled an event featuring a Turkish historian known for homophobic and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories because of outside pressure.
- In May, we reported that DTIB would remain part of an Islamic education advisory board in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia