Will for rapprochement

Will for rapprochement

Muslims in prayer © Sven Hoppe

Similar to Catholics, there are also rather conservative and rather liberal believers among Muslims in Germany. The dialogue between the two sides still falters at one point or another. This may now change.

The Liberal-Islamic Federation has called on Muslim associations in Germany to work together. The chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic Federation, Nushin Atmaca, told the Evangelical Press Service (epd) in Berlin that a common understanding should be reached on what can be done to counter fundamentalist readings and jihadist ideologies. In addition, one's own traditions of thought should be questioned and reflected upon.

Atmaca sees "the role and situation of the Muslim minority in this country" as a further topic for all Islamic associations. The point is to formulate political and social concerns as a minority and to name difficulties up to anti-Muslim racism, said Atmaca.

Liberal Muslims not yet an accepted interlocutor

She regretted that the liberal Muslims were not yet accepted as partners in dialogue by the more conservative associations under the umbrella of the Coordinating Council of Muslims. These include the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (DITIB), the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany (IRD), the Central Council of Muslims (ZMD) and the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers (VIKZ).

The situation is different at the local level, according to the chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic Federation. For example, he said, the Berlin congregation of her association is a member of the "Center for Interreligious Dialogue" in the Moabit district and is in exchange with other mosque congregations.

The Liberal-Islamic Federation says it has up to 300 members nationwide. There are communities in Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. Others are being set up in Heidelberg and Stuttgart, among other places.

"Freiburg Declaration"

"We accept different readings of Islam and stand for plurality," Atmaca stressed. That is why her association did not participate in the so-called Freiburg Declaration of Secular Muslims of September last year. "Their signatories seem to be taking a more confrontational approach."

In the Freiburg Declaration, the signatories advocate, among other things, a contemporary "humanistic, modern and enlightened understanding of Islam" and reject, among other things, a headscarf for women working in the civil service.

New liberal mosque congregation in Berlin

Referring to the liberal Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque community in Berlin-Moabit founded by women's rights activist and lawyer Seyran Ates, Atmaca said there are some similarities. She referred to the praying of women and men together in one room, the use of female clergy, the historical-critical interpretation of the Koran and the acceptance of homosexuals in the congregation.

Like the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque congregation, the Berlin congregation of the Liberal-Islamic Federation uses rooms of a Protestant church congregation.

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