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Mosque in Germany. Photo supplied

Almost all imams in Germany are foreign

Almost 90 percent of all imams in German mosques come from abroad. They come mainly from Turkey, North Africa, Albania, the former Yugoslavia, Egypt and Iran.

Published: March 27, 2019, 9:20 am

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    The regional German daily, the Rheinische Post reported on the study by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

    The Ditib religious institution, controlled by the Turkish state, provides almost half of all 2 500 imams in the country and operates around 1 000 mosques. This is followed by the radical Islamic Milli Görüs with 323 mosques, the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers with about 300 mosques and the Islamic community of the Bosniaks with more than 70 prayer houses.

    One of the authors of the study, Andreas Jacobs, considers the federal government’s mandate for imams to be “not much more than a repair measure”.

    Most of the Islamic clergy in Germany have neither religious-theological skills nor sufficient funding opportunities or their own training institutes. In addition, a “increased political authority of imams and officials” should be created.

    As an example, the study recommended France. In Germany’s neighbour, the government demands of foreign imams not only language skills but also a political commitment and financial transparency.

    Otherwise, they are refused a visa as an “effective tool to prevent immigrants being classified as undesirable or even dangerous”.

    The German government has approached various Arab-speaking countries about foreign financing of mosques in order to prevent the funding of extremist facilities.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said last year that Germany has been cooperating with Kuwait to “examine particularly thoroughly” the funding of projects, but he refused to name other countries with which Germany is talking, citing confidential diplomatic discussions.

    The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcasters NDR and WDR reported however that the ministry had asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others to report planned financing of religious facilities in Germany in a bid by the government to become as independent as possible from foreign financing.

    According to Deutsche Welle, German lawmakers are considering introducing a “mosque tax” for Muslims to fund their institutions, similar to taxes which Christians in Germany pay to fund religious activities.

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