“An islam with which we can live together very well”

The German Islam Forum began its work in June 2002. Ten years later, the co-founder takes stock: Since then, "something like a German-style Islam has emerged," says Jurgen Micksch in an interview with our site.

Interviewer: How did it come about that the Islam Forum was established exactly ten years ago??

Micksch: After the attacks in New York on 11. September 2001, the rejection of Muslims has steadily increased. As a result, the Islamforum. Today something quite self-evident. But at that time everyone said: That's not possible at all.
Interviewer: What is your balance sheet – ten years after the founding of the Islamforum??

Micksch: When we started, it was said: Dialogue with Muslims is not possible. After ten years, we can say: It has been ten years of successful dialogue. To mark the anniversary, we have published a book documenting conversations with leaders of Muslim organizations since 2002. Since then, something like a German-style Islam has emerged, it becomes clear. An Islam with which we can live together very well.
Interviewer: What else is the subject of your book "Muslims belong to German society", which has just been published??

Micksch: We have dealt with all the relevant ies of the time: Sharia and the Basic Law, the beating of women, the understanding of mosques, the minaret ie, the relationship to constitutional protection and many other relevant topics.
Interviewer: The Islam Forum includes numerous Muslim associations, but also the Christian churches, the Jewish community and many others. Where do you see a clear challenge even after ten years?

Micksch: There are enough challenges. Many topics have not yet been dealt with in a qualified manner. In the area of social work, for example, there are considerable deficits in the Muslim sector. Or on the topics of homosexuality, slaughter, Salafism and anti-Muslim racism.
Interviewer: In the past weeks and months, the Salafist group in Germany has caused quite a stir. In some places, a ban on the Salafists has been demanded and considered…

Micksch: The Salafists must not be lumped together. There are very different groups: the religiously oriented ones, with whom one can live together without any problems, then there are the more politically active ones and the ones who are prepared to use violence, although there are very few of them.
Interviewer: How does Islam in Germany differ from Islam in Islamic countries??

Micksch: We have very different Muslim traditions in Germany. The Muslims who live here come from about 40 countries and naturally bring their different traditions with them. It's only here in Germany that they discover that there are very different forms of Islam all over the world. And they are trying to find common ground here – and to respond to our circumstances. For example, it was formulated that women and men have equal rights among themselves and that hitting women is forbidden. In most Islamic countries, on the other hand, it is taken for granted, even in the Koran it says that women may be beaten. Muslims in Germany no longer agree with this. Another decisive factor is that the Muslim representatives are open to interreligious dialogue and want to work together with Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and representatives of other religious communities. This is not at all conceivable in most Islamic countries.

About the person: Dr. Jurgen Micksch is the founder of the German Islam Forum, chairman of the Intercultural Council in Germany and a retired Protestant pastor.

The interview was conducted by Monika Weib.

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