Islam is “part and parcel” of Germany and religion is helping to speed up the process of integrating refugees and migrants, a renowned Islamic scholar and political scientist has claimed.
Mohammed Khallouck, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, was speaking to New York-based digital media project Refugees Deeply about the role that Islamic citizens’ initiatives play in refugee integration when he made the remarks.
“Religion is not decelerating but accelerating the process and the progress of integration when it helps refugees to make social and economic needs meet in a way that allows them to experience linguistic, cultural and religious familiarity in the new country. Given that Islam has become part and parcel of Germany, an approach to integration which aims to overcome Islamic beliefs and behaviours is nonsense,” Khallouck claimed.
The comments come just weeks after Facebook banned a historian for 30 days after posting a message diminishing Islam’s role in German history, despite a 2016 survey suggesting that 76 per cent of German nationals agreeing that Islam does not “belong to Germany”.
Khallouck, a former lecturer in political science at Philipps-University of Marburg, also maintained that most refugees are motivated to “proactively participate” in German society.
He said: “Many refugees might return to their countries once they have the opportunity to implement democratic principles and practices. With or without such a return, however, they are motivated to proactively participate in both the state and the society of Germany.
“Altogether, Islam is crucial to the process and progress of integration. Due to the actions of Islamic associations, Muslim refugees meet Muslim refugee workers to whom they can connect in the practice of Islam. In these shared practices, they encounter a nuanced experience of Germany which prevents naivety, on the one hand, and anxiety, on the other hand, with reference to their new host society. The activities of Islamic citizen’s initiatives facilitate the integration of refugees, bringing the identities of Germans and of Muslims together.”
However the picture painted by Khallouck is contradicted by data which reveals that in June 2017, just 20 per cent of refugees from war-torn and crises-afflicted countries – namely Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria – had some form of employment. Indeed, those that did have jobs were largely in low-skilled work in sectors such as hospitality.
More than 1.4m people have applied for asylum in Germany since 2014, which equates to 43 per cent of total applications to the EU. And government figures show that, far from integrating into German society, migrants have been disproportionately placed in areas of high unemployment and worse job prospects; predominantly towns and cities to the north west of the country.
What do you think? Is Islam part and parcel of Germany? Let us know in the comments below…
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