Accepted Paper:

Political, historical, and social contributions towards models of Islamic religious education in Germany: a comparative case study of Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia  


Michelle Dromgold

Paper short abstract:

This research compares the implementation of Islamic education in German public schools by examining the Islamic education models and differences that have framed them across states, the evolution of these models, and the relationship between observed changes and the efficacy of the approach.

Paper long abstract:

Today, struggles between the inclusion of Germany's four million Muslim residents and the secular political and social majority are a recurring theme of daily newspaper articles, state and national political discourse, and subtle everyday incidents in schools and on the street. Nationally, the Federal German Islam Conference, created in 2006, has facilitated dialogue among German officials and Islamic representatives at the national level. Recent state legislation has further focused on Islamic religious education, which, according to the 2001 Federal Independent Immigration Commission, allows Muslim children to emerge as "participants on equal terms in social, economic, cultural, and political life." Therefore, understanding the political openness to and public availability of Islamic education is essential to examining integration of Muslim minorities and the broader understanding Islam within German society. To contribute to this understanding of Islam in Germany, I compare Islamic education adopted in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, in terms of: (1) The relationship between Islamic education legislation and regional political, historical, and cultural differences in each state; (2) whether the goals and methods of implementing religious instruction have changed since 1998 to focus more on the inclusion of Muslim students; and (3) the correlation, if any, between recent changes in religious instruction and the reform of German schools and increased perceptions of inclusion among Muslim students. This research recognizes that public education is essential to promoting fuller participation in any modern civil society and remains a central aspect of Germany's increasing focus on promoting the inclusion of Muslim minorities.

Panel P233
School ethnographies: inside and beyond schooling