Islamic Associations in Germany Denied Religious Lessons in Government-Funded Schools

A bid by two of Germany’s biggest Muslim associations to gain access to government-funded schools for the teaching of Islam has been rejected by a court in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) and the Islamrat (“Islam council”) launched the joint action. The higher administrative court in Münster turned down them down on the grounds that they did not fulfill all the criteria of a religious association as defined by the German constitution, according to the Deutsche Welle (DW) news service.

The court said that the two associations lacked the necessary authority over Germany’s Muslim community to claim acess and therefore could not replicate the work done by the Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany.

As Breitbart London reported, the associations sued to claim more of a say in Islamic religious studies in government-funded schools. If successful, it could have changed the face of Islamic education in the NRW region.

The state’s Education Minister Yvonne Gebauer welcomed the decision, however both associations immediately made public their disappointment. The ZMD said:

We regret the decision … because first and foremost it does not offer the undisputed needs of Muslim children in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia any secure prospect for the future. Once again an important opportunity to jointly create a constitutionally stable model other than the NRW council model, which expires in 2019, has been lost.

The Islamrat said the court had missed a chance to send an “important signal to the Muslims in the country and an important step towards providing them a home in Germany.” The association also criticized what it saw as the state government’s failure to hear official assessments of its status, and added that it would continue to “work constructively on the permanent establishment of an Islamic religious class.”

A spokesman for the Dusseldorf Ministry of Education said the state’s education of teachers of Islamic religious studies would not be impacted by the ruling but the curriculum taught to students could have been if the plaintiffs were successful.

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