The overwhelming majority of German Muslims do not define themselves purely in terms of their religion. Yet this plays only a negligible role in the continuing rowdy and polemical debate on Islam that has gone out for its latest spin on Germany’s op-ed pages in recent weeks. Author Michael Kiefer calls for “de-Islamicising” the debate on immigrants and integration in order to meet reality.
In many conflicts, he argues, Islam is not the problem and therefore, a solution that targets Islam, will not solve anything. Religion should not play a role in integration work in schools, kindergartens or communities. What people want is equal opportunities in the labour market or improvements in their residential area. The idea is to identify these common interests and to work on them on a local basis, leaving religious actors aside. The author argues for rethinking the German integration approach and conceiving of immigrants as partners and actors, integrating them through participation.