How do I impress a Muslim girl

Islamism

Claudia Dantschke

To person

studied Arabic at the University of Leipzig. She writes on the topics of anti-Semitism, migration, Islam and Islamism. Since December 2001 she has been a research assistant at the Center for Democratic Culture (ZDK) in Berlin.

What influence do some radical youth organizations have on Muslim youth? How are Muslim youth organized in Germany?

Protests against the publication of the Mohammed cartoons in front of the Danish embassy in Berlin, Saturday, February 11, 2006. (& copy AP)

Insights into some Sunni-Pan-Islamic youth scenes

For many young people who come under the label of "Muslim young people", religion is an important part of their identity, but only a minority defines themselves primarily as religious. This segment of Muslim youth, who primarily define themselves as religious, is divided into numerous groups and subcultural milieus, as the religious orientations differ greatly depending on the denominations, the internalized religious dogmatics and also the political or ideological positioning. Some of these youth scenes are clearly delimited from one another, but some also overlap.


For the complexity of Muslim youth cultures, not only the different religious interpretations but also the social stratification and the connection to Islamic organizations play a role. Ethnic / national references are most strongly displaced by religious denominations in a more medium-sized, socially integrated and educational environment, while in the less educated milieus there is often a mixture of religion and national origin. Political conflicts in the families' countries of origin also shape the young people's national orientations. This can be observed particularly among young people from Arab countries, across all social milieus. In the case of young people of Turkish origin, the combination of ethnic / national and religious orientation results from an understanding of religion shaped by various Islamic organizations or by their parents, which is referred to as the "Turkish-Islamic synthesis". Origin, Turkish language and culture acquire a quasi religious meaning.

Within this heterogeneous spectrum, there are targeted efforts to overcome internal delimitations and segmentations and to arrive at an actual and not just externally presented "uniformity". The basis for this is a pan-Islamic interpretation of Islam, i.e. one that is detached from nationality, language and culture (1). The only thing that unites is religion, origin and language are secondary, which is why these groups very pragmatically use the respective lingua franca, in this country German, for communication. The Sunni-Pan-Islamic groups are dominated by young people of Turkish or Arab origin, but overall they are very multinational and also have a certain attraction for young German converts of both sexes. But this milieu is again divided into different scenes.

Milli Görüs youth


The largest youth scene of the Sunni-Pan-Islamic movement is likely to be the Milli-Görüs youth, simply because of the dense infrastructure and intensive child and youth work of the Milli-Görüs organization that has been established in Europe and especially in Germany for over 30 years. The number of members of the youth association (Milli Görüs Jugend) amounts to seven to eight thousand active and once again as much less active girls and boys, i.e. a total of around 15,000 young people in Europe (around 80% of them in Germany). Although this scene is still very strongly linguistically and culturally oriented and shaped by Turkish, the underlying Milli-Görüs ideology of the Milli-Görüs leader Necmettin Erbakan, who is now over 80 years old, is oriented in its theory towards pan-Islamism and in its Core is a Turkish variant of the Arab Muslim Brotherhood ideology. Especially in the educational circles of the Milli-Görüs-Jugend (IGMG-Genclik) the traditional Turkish-cultural elements are increasingly taking a back seat in favor of the pan-Islamic orientation.

When the IGMG youth association invited to the 10th youth conference in Genk, Belgium, in April 2005, around 5,000 visitors came, a good half were women and a good third were under 18 years of age. As always at the major IGMG events, the aged Erbakan was hooked up by phone. In his speech to the young people, Erbakan emphasized the organization's expectations of the younger generation. He urged them to be active as good Muslims, since they shape the image of Muslims and this image must be a positive, a perfect one.

With the youth offensive launched at the end of 2006, however, the IGMG is primarily addressing adults who should take more care of the young people, because "after all, there are ten thousand young people that we still have to reach and who are exposed to many problems. ... It it is not enough to organize them; we have to accept them into our community and educate them for the future and for society. Our greatest wish is that these young people in the sense of Islam as believing, hardworking, honest and successful people in society occupy a significant place. " (2)

The associated project, which the IGMG youth committee now wants to start, is called the "contemporary Dar-ul Erkam school" ("Discussion Groups 2000") and is to take place all over Europe at the same time. It is a project aimed at neighborhood and acquaintances in the house, on the street etc. who are to be invited for conversation at the local level. Especially young people are invited, "and everyone who feels young". In this program, according to the plan, "topics about faith and prayer will be addressed. Above all, however, we will get to know the Islamic history and the exemplary life of our Prophet (saw) and his young companions Strengthening a sense of brotherhood. " The mothers and fathers should encourage the young people to take part in this program and make their apartments available as a place for discussion groups. "We at Milli Görüs want to support young people in all respects. We see it as our duty to offer them meeting places suitable for young people. It is our greatest task to educate them to be hardworking, determined and well-behaved people." For this you need the cooperation with the parents, explains the IGMG.

In addition to this rather traditional youth work of the association through parents, attempts have been running for some time to restructure the youth department of the IGMG into an IGMG youth association with the aim of granting young people more autonomy at the federal, regional, state and local levels and thus to increase participation and activation of young people. Ultimately, it is the attempt to keep the young people in the organization and to prevent them from migrating into the numerous alternative Muslim youth scenes, which are much more independent of the directives of the adults.

Muslim youth in Germany

These youth scenes include the Arab-dominated but multinational, Islamic-conservative-oriented Sunni "pop-Muslims", such as the Muslim Youth in Germany (MJD). The MJD is a nationally organized German-speaking organization for Muslim young people between 13 and 30 years of age from more education-oriented and socially integrated classes, including numerous young people of bicultural origin and converts. The MJD was founded in 1994 based on the model of the British Young Muslims (3) under the leadership of the "Haus des Islam - HDI" association (Lützelbach). The first Amir and chairman of the MJD was Muhammad Siddiq (Wolfgang Borgfeld), a German convert and head of the HDI. Officially, the MJD is an independent youth association, but the HDI association is still the MJD's godfather to this day, e.g. for the organization of the annual MJD meetings or the brother and sister camps. Personal links between the MJD and organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood, the regular appearance of various authorities of this spectrum as speakers at MJD events and the religious literature distributed by the MJD through its book publisher Greenpalace probably have the MJD's reputation as an unofficial youth and elite organization political-Islamic spectrum, whose interests in Germany, according to the protection of the constitution, are represented by the "Islamic Community in Germany eV (IGD), which is under the influence of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood". (4)

The MJD is divided into local groups, the board of the MJD is called Schura, the chairman of the board is the Amir. Young women are also represented in the Shura, but the Amir has always been male. A new shura is elected every two years. The number of members of the MJD is between 200 and 300, but the annual meetings are attended by over 1,000 Muslim youth, including a high proportion of young women. Although male and female members of the MJD also travel together to regional meetings and celebrate religious festivals, the "sisters" and "brothers" of the association meet separately on different days of the week. The conservative Islamic gender segregation is observed and practiced at the MJD. There are youth camps of several days for girls and boys, in which the sense of community and group cohesion are to be strengthened. "We feel at home among the siblings of Muslim youth, we don't feel so connected with any other community," says a long-time MJD functionary, summing up his time at the organization. The youth work of the MJD is highly professional, as the handbooks for the local districts show with their tips for the successful organization of youth groups. (5) The focus of MJD youth work is the effort to combine the religious self-definition as a believing and practicing Muslim with life in Germany. Both are seen, defined and conveyed to the young people in harmony and not in contradiction to one another. Elements of urban, non-religious youth cultures, such as hip hop or graffiti, are adapted and filled with their own religious content. The best-known Muslim hip-hopper today, Ammar114 (Milkias Kedebe) (6), who is recognized and recognized in the entire spectrum of so-called "Pop Muslims", found through the MJD not only to Islam but also to what has since been copied by other young people islamic hip hop style. The work of the MJD is geared towards "not doing anything against the will of the parents and that the parents are also satisfied with what we are doing so that there are no problems," said the current chairman of the MJD, Mohammed Nabil Abdulazim (7). "Younger people," says Abdulazim, "are usually more responsive to young people, are more flexible, and young people feel better understood by them. Despite everything, the experience of older people cannot be replaced. As young people, we can only ever do one give certain input, but also older people can make an important contribution through life experience and wisdom, "said the MJD chairman. (8th)

This generation change in the sense of the parents' generation was also expressed by Riem Hawi when she represented the young generation at the annual conference of the IGD in the Berlin Tempodrom on September 21, 2003 as a representative of the MJD. With reference to the companions of the Prophet Mohammad, she stated that only youth who are part of society and who feel they belong to a society are also able to change that society, and "for the better" (9). . "And we want that too," explained Hawi, because "integration means: doing well. That comes from the Latin and means: healthy, clean. Integration means doing well and that is what we want and nothing else". In her speech, Riem Hawi referred to the event's spiritual mentor, the German convert Ahmad von Denffer. In a keynote address on the topic of this IGD annual conference "Integration instead of ghetto? !!" Ahmad von Denffer explained: "The Muslims should not understand integration as 'becoming' or 'being part' of society, but rather as 'participating' in society, that is, from a passive to an active role. If the Muslims find theirs Perceive the actual task, namely to bring the word of Allah close to your fellow human beings in this country and to benefit them, then everything that you otherwise try so hard for will actually take care of itself. " (10) The fact that one lives in a secular democracy, writes Ahmad von Denffer, only needs to be an incentive for Muslims to "do their best to transform society into an Islamic one."

Salafi missionaries

The very spiritual Salafi groups, oriented towards orthodox Saudi Arabian scholars, behave more distanced from the non-Muslim environment and more uncompromising in their understanding of Islam. Although their content is radical, they are not oriented towards violence. Their basis is a Wahhabi (11) understanding of Islam with an extremely pious, puritanical and literally oriented focus on the Koran and Sharia. A return to the model of the "honest ancestors" (al-salaf al-salih) and thus to a fictional "Ur-Islam", a supposedly pure Islam at the time of the Prophet Mohammad and the four rightly guided caliphs in Medina is being propagated. This tendency is characterized by the devaluation of all those who do not follow its dogmatic interpretation of Islam (12) and the extreme rejection of Shiites and Shi'aism as a "sect" and "deviation from Islam". The split in Islam that has been initiated is to be overcome and reversed.

The male followers of this trend (including and especially young people) attract attention in public with their beard and oriental-style clothing. There are two relevant networks in Germany that embody the missionary approach and are therefore partially successful in the field of young people. On the one hand, there is the Syrian-Moroccan group of four imams, led by the Leipzig imam Hassan Dabbagh (Abu al-Hussain). Above all, the Berlin representative of this group, the Moroccan youth imam Abdul Adhim, with his charismatic appearances in various Berlin communities (13) and his weekly discussion groups in the Berlin Al-Nur mosque, especially among young people of Muslim origin and young German converts Reached popularity and a steady following of both male and female youth. The massive German-language internet offer of this trend also contributes to this, a whole complex of interlinked homepages offers information, fatwas (Islamic legal opinions), discussion forums and internet paltalk evenings as well as the German-language lectures and sermons of these four imams as free audio and video files at. (14)

The second trend, which is particularly attractive for young people, is embodied by the German convert Pierre Vogel (Abu Hamza). Former professional boxer Pierre Vogel is 29 years old and converted to Islam six years ago. Vogel, who travels around Germany like an itinerant preacher, reaches young Germans with his messages of "true Islam" who convert to Islam through him, young migrants whom he "leads back" to Islam and young people who are Sunni-Pan-Islamic orientated In their private search for "correct" Islamic knowledge at Islamic events, in the mosque or on the Internet, they come across Pierre Vogel and are impressed by him because of his youthful charisma and his great knowledge. Within existing youth scenes, such as In the milieu of Milli Görüs, opinions about Pierre Vogel drift apart and there are very controversial discussions about him. While Vogel is classified as dangerous on the one hand and warned against him because he studied in Mecca and spreads a Salafi interpretation of Islam, other young people are not bothered by it, because that would not be a reason "that you cannot take anything from them." The massive Internet presence of videos with lectures by Pierre Vogel as well as "awakening videos" - videos of male converts and audio files of female converts explaining why they became Muslim - has made Pierre Vogel (Abu Hamza) very well known and to an intense debate about him and his views, not only in circles of Muslim youth. From this virtual attention, however, only limited conclusions can be drawn about the real spread of this movement within the Muslim youth subcultures. Some of the young people will make use of Vogel's offer and integrate individual aspects into their own view of the world without joining Vogel or his current or feeling a part of it. Irrespective of this, Pierre Vogel and Abdul Adhim are a phenomenon to be observed in relation to the development of a conservative, strictly religiously oriented Muslim youth subculture in Germany with a very strong tendency to demarcate everything "non-Islamic".The Salafi interpretation of Islam propagated by both also forms the ideological basis of the violence-prone and terrorist multinational Jihad groups, which also recruit their followers from the non-violence-oriented Salafi networks.

Other groups, such as the Puritan missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat (Community of Annunciation) or the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), were also able to gain a foothold in the youth sector. The Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) propagates a wording-oriented interpretation of the Koran and thus the revival of classical Islam as the basis for a strong Islamic identity. Retreat to one's own community, strict gender segregation and total isolation from the environment, also in the form of clothing and men's hair and beards, are preached, but without actively changing the surrounding state. Violence is generally rejected. The movement describes itself as apolitical, but shares the vision of a puritanic Islamic ideal society with many Islamists. The focus of missionary attention is on socially disadvantaged young Muslims, but also young male non-Muslims who are already beginning to be interested in Islam. The TJ supporters also visit these youths in local youth recreational facilities in order to "get them out of this" sinful "environment. Intensive training in small groups and strong indoctrination are typical. In contrast, the Hizb ut-Tahrir acts extremely politically and agitates more in educational circles. Although the party was banned from working in Germany in 2003, it is still active, especially in the area of ​​ideology transfer among high school and college students, e.g. in Hamburg or Berlin. Violence to gain power is not excluded, but is aimed at the "Islamic" countries where a caliphate is to be established. The strategy of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) is to ideologically infiltrate existing Muslim organizations and groups. Among the intellectual young people and students, they impress with their rhetorical brilliance and theological erudition. They are trying to create a milieu, an ideological armament, with which the supporters (male but also female young people) can then swarm out independently. Inspired, but independent of Hizb ut-Tahrir, these young people tirelessly agitate their peers on a local and supraregional level and strive to network like-minded people, with the Internet playing an important role. With its radical rejection of any kind of political integration in Germany, Hizb ut-Tahrir is also met with strong criticism from its young target group, because this attitude makes it impossible to influence the living situation of Muslims according to one's own ideas.


Between powerlessness and activity

In contrast to the educated and socially integrated Muslim adolescents, who shape their entire everyday life according to their political-ideological or dogmatic religious orientation, live their convictions and also become active for it, the affirmity towards radical Islamist groups is more uneducated and socially disintegrated in circles Muslim youth rather rhetorically. Due to their Muslim family background, they see themselves as part of a global community and derive a feeling of superiority and an excessive self-esteem for themselves from the positive reference to the radical and terrorist Jihad groups, their leaders and "martyrs". It is more of a compensation for one's own helplessness, inadequacy and weakness, a lack of prospects and an escape from everyday life. The self-appraisal takes place largely via the Internet and the violent videos published there with scenes from the numerous current conflicts. The imagery is simple, with photos of highly armed American or Israeli military personnel contrasting the "superiority and cruelty of non-Muslims" with the "heroic actions of Muslims", their resistance and perseverance, their willingness to fight and sacrifice. In everyday life, these references do not express themselves in young people through religious behavior or practice of religion but rather in the form of sayings, aggressive verbal demarcations along the line "Muslim" - "Non-Muslim" and a habitus and outfit that emphasizes the masculine, the strong. A very small number of young people, which is difficult to estimate, goes beyond this formal and rather rhetorical identification. They not only obtain audiovisual propaganda materials from the Internet, but also numerous religiously disguised ideological writings, books, essays, statements, analyzes and instructions and adopt them as their own. At the same time, they network via discussion forums and a virtual community is created that gives those involved the feeling of belonging to a strong global community, even if they are quite lonely in everyday life.

The ideal network of the Lifemakers

The TV preacher Amr Khaled offered a progressive alternative to young people who reject this isolation and want to participate in life in Europe with their Islamic identity. With his television show ("Sunna Al-Hajat" - Lifemakers), which has been broadcast on the Arab satellite TV station Iqra since April 2004, Khaled quickly became the best-known Arab TV imam. In this show, which is similar to the programs of American evangelical revival preachers, Amr Khaled is aimed specifically at educated Muslim middle-class youth in the Arab world as well as in Europe. It also has a website with a forum (15). This Muslim youth movement began in Germany in the winter of 2005 and in a very short time comprised around 400 active Muslim youth between 16 and 30 years of age, including a large proportion of girls and young women. Initially, this scene consisted of the Internet platform (16) set up in February 2005, which acted as a kind of notice board for the individual local groups. These local groups were formed in different cities, divided into groups of girls and boys according to the religiously based gender segregation. In 2006 there was a change of the website (17), the number of active participants and the proposed projects had decreased rapidly. In the meantime, there is no longer any content on this page, while the original website lifemakers is used by opponents of this youth movement and is redirected to a Salafi homepage on which the authorities of the Muslim Brotherhood from Sayyid Qutb to Yusuf al-Qaradawi to Amr are in Arabic Khaled should be pilloried as "Fitne (seduction) of Islamic groups" (18). Otherwise little is heard of the Lifemakers movement either. There are some local groups, like in Cologne-Bonn, Darmstadt and Hamburg. In Berlin in 2005 only one local group consisting of around 15 girls was formed and in other regions it was also noticeable that more young women than young men are involved. Overall, the movement is suffering from the lack of personal commitment on the part of the young people on site, which can also be seen as a sign that this is actually an independent youth scene, ideally geared towards the idea generator, the preacher Amr Khaled, behind which there are no organizations or There are networks of adults who want to secure their continued existence through active youth work or who outsource youth work. Amr Khaled's ideas and conceptions also include, however, that he understands Islam and democracy each as a separate system and only advocates a mutual rapprochement between these two systems. "Any attempt to develop and optimize Arab society in which belief is not the focus is doomed to failure; because belief is the strongest and most beautiful element in Arab life. Such experiments may go well for a while, but the collapse is inevitable. Because the decisive power is missing. " (19) He sees rapprochement with "Western democracy" primarily in the adoption of democratic structures such as freedom of opinion and religion, pluralism and democratic parliamentarism.

Khaled conveys the message to Muslim youth in Europe: "Participate in Western society, integrate yourself and offer it services; not to say that we are better than them, that is not a goal! The goal is to respect Muslims ... I think the goal of every young Muslim in the West should be respect for their own religion through the environment. How can this be achieved? With our way of dealing with people, with our character, with social engagement for the people, through our participation and by learning their languages ​​... Three things must be asked of Muslim youth: exemplary character, above average performance and success in life in order for them to be respected. This is a society that is built on success Society services are offered. " (20)

And so the active young people of the Lifemakers see themselves challenged to motivate young people and to show that "as Muslim young people we are very capable and can very well do something. Islam and society are very important to us. We want them good qualities that the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him, imparted to us again in reality. " (21) The self-confidence of young people is strengthened through religion. "We just have to trust in Allah's power, in his love for us and in his grace! ... Open your eyes, you want to know what strength is? Open the Koran and read! There you will find more than hell and Paradise! ... Let us resolve to feel Allah's closeness by not ONLY praying in Ramadan, not ONLY wearing a headscarf in Ramadan, not ONLY reading the Koran in Ramadan. " (22)

The IGD has also recognized the power of this awakening message and has presented the spiritus rector of this movement, Amr Khaled, as a star guest at its annual meeting every year since 2003. Through the appearance of Amr Khaled alone, the IGD managed to mobilize around 10,000 participants in 2003 and 2004, including many young people. In 2005, however, the number sank to around 4,000 participants and in December 2006 only a total of 2,000 Muslims came to the IGD meeting in Hamburg. The initial growth of this scene, the ability to mobilize among broad groups of Muslim young people, seems to have reached its peak and is to be put into perspective again by 2006 at the latest. It cannot be said how large the number of really active young people are currently involved in the lifemakers scene, but it is likely to have decreased rather than increased. Even if the young people do not implement Amr Khaled's suggestions in large numbers through organized local groups, one can speak of a Muslim youth scene that sympathizes with Amr Khaled's ideas.

The suggestions and perspectives on which the Lifemakers scene is based have also found their implementation in other Islamic currents, such as the Berlin association "Lichtjugend eV" in the area of ​​the Turkish Nurculuk, the Lebanese Shiites of the Al-Hiwar and Mahdi associations in Berlin , the Moroccan-Sunni cultural association Interface eV in Düsseldorf, etc. The local initiatives by Muslim youth who feel responsible for their Muslim peers of both sexes are becoming more and more numerous. Your social armament against boredom and loitering on the streets, party culture and sexual freedom, denial of education and lack of prospects, alcohol or drug consumption, violence and crime is religion, the values ​​and norms derived from it. Their personal experiences with religion, from which they draw their strength, which gives them orientation, support and self-esteem, which has made them part of a community in which they feel secure, are the basis of their sense of mission. They feel obliged to do something for their community and their religion, also and precisely because their peers pollute the face of this community and also of religion through their behavior. The young social workers are missionaries in the service of Islam, which they interpret differently according to their denominational orientations from conservative-religious to moderate-Islamist, but whose core message for all of them is justice. They feel part of this society and want to be part of this society too. Discrimination and rejection by this society spurs them on rather than discouraging them. These Muslim youth groups are characterized by elements of pop culture, a conservative understanding of religion and social and political engagement. On the one hand, they experience demarcation and critical questioning from extremely spiritual or religious fundamentalist groups such as the Salafis or the Tablighi Jamaat, as well as from radical Islamist groups such as the Hizb ut-Tahrir. A small but very self-confident elite is emerging here, which will either give the traditional Islamic and Islamist associations new impetus, if they are allowed, or give "Islam" in Germany in all its forms its own face, which these associations will become have to ask.

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1) There is still a great gap between theory and practice in the individual scenes, but this does not change the intended goal. 2) November 24, 2006 at: www.igmg.de/index.php?module=ContentExpress & func = print & ceid = 2704 3) Youth department of the Islamic Society of Britain, see: www.isb.org.uk/pages06/home.asp# 4) www.berlin.de/imperia/md/content/seninn/ verassungsschutz / stand2005 / vsb_2006.pdf. 5) see: www.mj-net.de 6) The 29-year-old Frankfurt hip hopper Ammar 114 (114 stands for the 114 suras of the Koran) came to Islam through the MJD; he himself is of German-Ethiopian origin. Ammar's texts are a mixture of religion, everyday and discrimination experiences, political analysis and latent Islamist propaganda. For him, the style of music (hip hop) is a means to an end. With the lyrics he wants to reach young people, "bring the brothers who are criminals and take drugs" back on the path of Islam, because "you can offer me millions, but one thing is clear - the best offer still comes from Allah" . 7) quoted from. Islamische Zeitung: Background: How to behave towards the elderly ?, by Yasin Alder, 03.01.2007 8) In the meantime, several former members of the MJD board (Shura), such as Imran Sagir, founder and former Amir of the MJD, have held management positions in the Organizations of the network taken over. 9) Video recording of the author's speech 10) www.igd.com/html/jahrestreff2.htm Read on February 20, 2004 11) The modern Salafiyya from the late 19th century is a much more heterogeneous movement than the Wahhabiyya, which is very narrow associated with the modern Saudi state. In the present there is a multitude of movements that are ideologically nourished from the sources of classical and modern Salafiyya as well as Wahhabiyya, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Milli Görüs. 12) takfir - declare someone to be an unbeliever. 13) Especially institutions that are close to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. 14) See e.g. the homepage of Abdul Adhim www.islamvoice.de. 15) www.amrkhaled.net 16) www.lifemakers.de 17) www.dielifemakers.de 18) www.dawa-salafiya.de/Dalal/fahras.htm 19) quoted from Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 07.11.2005, "Mit Fatwas against the Hydra of Terror "by Tarek Atia. 20) quoted in Islamische Zeitung, October 14, 2003, "Establishing a relationship with society - conversation with Amr Khaled" 21) quoted in Islamische Zeitung, May 4th, 2005, interview with Saloua Oulad, press spokeswoman Lifemakers-Germany 22) quoted in Saloua Oulad, September 24th .2005, Minutes of the Lifemakers Meeting