* The government says it is seeking a trade-off, where Germany changes some laws to accommodate Muslims while the Islamic community commits itself to German democracy.
Berlin (dpa) – German government talks with the Islamic community reflect growing concern in Berlin that the angry children of immigrants may turn to terrorism because they are excluded from German prosperity.
* Ever heard of the global jihad?
A government briefing document released Wednesday in Berlin spoke of the “growing difficulties that second and third generation immigrants have finding a place in school and the jobs market.”
Germany has already been slammed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) over the low educational performance of immigrant children in schools. Many leave school without any qualifications.
* Immigrant children enjoy the same access to education as everybody else. If Muslims leave school without qualifications, could it be that it has something to do with Islam?
Recent news reports have highlighted the low success rate for young people with Turkish or Middle Eastern names when they apply by letter for jobs or scarce apprenticeships.
The German Islam Conference was set up seven months ago by Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who is not only responsible for religious issues but also Germany’s fight against terrorism.
German officials have been shocked by the emergence of terrorism among young British Muslims with roots in Pakistan and India, and worry that Germany faces a similar risk.
Government figures show there are up to 3.4 million people of Islamic heritage among Germany’s 82-million population.
More than half, or 1.8 million, are Turkish nationals. Aliens data show other large groups include 160,000 Bosnians, 70,000 Moroccans, 60,000 Iranians and 55,000 Afghans. About 1 million German nationals are Muslim.
Muslims settled in Germany in large numbers in the 1960s, when Germany recruited factory labour from Turkey. The Interior Ministry says 90 per cent of German Muslims are of non-Arab origin.
Sunni Muslims predominate, numbering about 2.5 million, while more than 500,000 are Alawites. Some Muslims do not accept Alawites as part of Islam. Only about 200,000 of Muslims in Germany are Shiite.
Mosques are generally run by associations, which can be freely established under German law and own property.
However, the interior ministry says only 10 to 15 per cent of Muslims are formally members of such associations or of secular groups representing their ethnicities.
The principal Muslim groups are the Ditib Turkish Islamic Religious Foundation, the Islamic Council of Germany, the Central Council of Muslims, the Federation of Islamic Culture Centres VIKZ and the Alawite Community.
The first four formed a coordination committee in March to speak with a single voice.
State estimates indicate there are 2,500 mosques in Germany, many of them little more than large rented rooms in office buildings or former factories.
Most of the estimated 2,250 imams employed in Germany have been seconded to Germany from Turkey or Arab nations and the Islamic Conference is expected to discuss asking a German university to train home-grown imams.