Germany: First step towards Islam in schools
21 August 2012
“Regional state aims to set example”, reads the headline in Süddeutsche Zeitung. On August 22, North-Rhine Westphalia, the most populous state in the German federal republic and the one with the largest number of Muslim schoolchildren (320,000) will break new ground when it launches a programme to teach Islam in 44 primary schools. The Munich daily reports that the regional government aims to send a strong signal to the 15 other German states, which have been debating the question of Islamic studies in schools for more than a decade. However, the conditions for the launch –
… cannot be described as optimal. Teachers have yet to be trained and the curriculum has not been finalised. But there is a willingness to get started and to send the right message.
Until university trained Islamic religion teachers graduate in 2019, classes will be provided by teachers of Islamic culture who are already employed in several German states. The provision of an introduction to the Islamic faith has been the subject of debate in Germany, where Catholics and Protestants benefit from official recognition as “communities of faith” which have a right to establish a teaching programme, which until now has been denied to Muslims.