3 - 2003
Islamic instruction in German state schools
EKD and the Minister of Education in favour
The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Conference of Ministers of Education and cultural affairs support the demands for Islamic instruction at state schools. "Recognised confessional instruction" belongs to the educational task of the State and serves social understanding, said the EKD education secretary, Matthias Otte, in Berlin. The Conference of Ministers of Education and cultural affairs (KMK) had also agreed that religious instruction for pupils of the Muslim faith is the responsibility of the schools, said KMK spokeswoman Sylvia Schill.
The Catholic Bishop of Fulda, Heinz Josef Algermissen, had spoken out for Islamic religious instruction in the schools. In an interview, the Bishop said that he had "no objections" to State control of the course content. Otherwise Muslim children go to Koran schools. Algermissen said that "we don't know what is taught there and there is no State control".
However, Otte pointed out that it was more difficult to introduce religious instruction according to the Basic Law in the case of Islam than with other faiths. It states in the constitution that religious instruction should be taught in accordance with the basic principles of the religious communities. However, a central institution that
would establish such basic principles for all Muslims does not exist.
Nevertheless, it is important to make some progress in this direction said Otte. The EKD welcomed the attempts in some of the German states to reach agreements with certain Muslim groups about Islamic
In Otte's estimation, there exists in the meantime agreement among the experts that Islamic instruction with foreign teachers that is not given in the German language, cannot be a model for the future. The State must have Islamic instruction "under its own direction", said Otte. State instruction does not make Koran schools superfluous, just as Protestant religious instruction does not remove the need for confirmation instruction.
In the view of the KMK, Islamic instruction must be offered by the schools if a sufficient percentage of the pupils are Muslims.