As Muslim migration is being set to change German, and possibly European, demographics forever, Germany is gearing up for the new challenge -- not by integrating and assimilating young Muslims in a free and democratic Western society, but by handing over the religious education of the next generation of German Muslims to Islamist radicals.
Worse yet, German authorities see no problem in doing that.
With Germany predicted to receive 800,000 migrants -- mostly Muslims -- this year alone, and millions more waiting to cross Europe's unguarded borders, the Muslim population in Germany is seeing a historic rise from the current figure of nearly 6 million. Several German states including Bavaria, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia have introduced Islamic Studies in their public schools. The state of Hesse has become the first in Germany to offer Islamic education in public schools, with religious instruction starting as early as the first grade.
Giving young children religious and moral instruction might sound like a good idea, if not for the content of the newly written Islamic curriculum and the influence of Islamist elements over the recruitment of teachers.
The writing of textbooks is being overseen by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB). In an agreement reached between the State of Hesse and DITIB, the organization will play a key role in setting the curriculum, selecting the teachers and monitoring the Islamic religious instruction. The organization is apparently assuming a similar role in several other key German states.
DITIB is the largest Muslim organization in Germany and controls several prominent mosques. The group depends heavily on the Turkish government for its funding, and maintains close ties with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist party, the AKP.
The newly compiled Islamic curriculum for public schools in Hesse has come under great scrutiny. An independent report conducted by Abdel-Hakim Ourghi, who heads of the Faculty for Islamic Theology and Religious Studies at the Freiburg University of Education, has sharply criticized the curriculum.
According to an article in Die Welt, Ourghi, a prominent Muslim scholar, has been raising concern about the activities of DITIB and other conservative Muslim organizations operating in Germany. "No one knows exactly what actually happens in Islamic classes in German primary schools," he says. In his assessment, conservative Islam, the one dominant in Germany, is incapable of thinking critically about its past.
According to Ourghi's report, the textbooks fail to "confront the problematic verses of Koran." The report also says that the curriculum fails in its most important purpose -- integrating Muslims into the German society -- as it fails to reconcile the "Islamic faith of the students with the reality of the western society" they are living in.
Confronted with the damning report, Hesse's Minister of Education and Culture, Alexander Lorz, dismissed the allegations and called the Hesse's Islamic education a "success."
Meanwhile, despite Lorz's stance, young German Muslims from his state keep heading to Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIS). And despite DITIB's regular lip service to denouncing the terrorist organization, the Islamic State receives a continuous flow of fresh recruits from DITIB-run mosques.
According to a recent investigative report by the German news magazine, Focus, a DITIB-run Mosque in Cologne is a key base in Germany for Turkey's intelligence agency, the MIT. The intelligence team not only gathers information on Turkish President Erdogan's opponents in Germany, but also maintains a local "thug squad" to mete out "tough punishments" to Turkish dissidents in Germany.
The Cologne Central Mosque is used as a key base in Germany for Turkey's intelligence agency, where they run a local "thug squad" to mete out "tough punishments" to Turkish dissidents in Germany. (Image source: © Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
By legitimizing extremist groups such as DITIB as the sole legitimate representatives of Islam within German Muslim society, the German government has marginalized genuine voices of reform and dissent within its Muslim population.
These courageous dissident Muslim men and women are left to face threats and intimidation on their own, while the government is busy appeasing the self-proclaimed leaders of the faith.
The fruits of liberty enjoyed by Germans today are not Germany's to squander in the first place. Every bit of this precious freedom was paid for in blood -- from the beaches of Normandy to the pavements of the Warsaw Ghetto -- often meter-by-meter with bare knuckles and bloody fists.
As if history has come full circle, in the span of less than a century, Germany's state institutions are folding again at the mere sight of an organized band of fascists.
Vijeta Uniyal is a current affairs analyst based in Germany.