The study was conducted by educational scientists Harry Harun Beer and Meltem Kolachatan of Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main on behalf of DITIB. According to the authors, the Association of Mosques, one of the largest in Germany, had no effect on the results. They evaluated nearly 500 questionnaires and, in their opinion, gave a representative impression of young people’s attitudes DITIB members.
“Young people see themselves primarily as German Muslims of heterogeneous origin – they have grown up speaking several languages and can move with great confidence in different settings,” says study author Meltem Kolasatan. The majority of DITIB members see their religion as the only true religion – but other religions also have their justifications: “It’s quite clear that one’s religion is the best. He has the best role models and one can direct oneself the best there, which makes perfect sense: it’s basic socialization.”
Fear of rejection
They often grew up in Germany – and also see the country as one of their home. But Muslim youths are also afraid of being rejected, says Meltim Kollakatan. “They often say: ‘My country makes it hard for me, my country doesn’t love me. The terms of the relationship are mentioned.'”
Discrimination experiences already in school play a major role in the answers. Petul Senar is the president of the state association of DITIB youth in Lower Saxony and Bremen. The 24-year-old has already had such experiences – because of her veil: “Then you are spoken to or pushed aside or pushed, you are spit on. Not only are verbal things, but they are little things in everyday life that make Our guys are very busy.”
DITIB juniors want to change the mosque’s connection
However, young people are planning a future in Germany, says study author Kulaçatan – and DITIB youth would like to change their association with the mosque: “What young people want are scholars, male and female, who are educationally fit, linguistically fit – ie speak German – and familiar with their living environment “. In the speeches, young DITIB members hope for other topics such as migration, climate change and poverty.
Zakaria Altug of the federal association DITIB says: “DITIB has trained German-speaking clergy since 2007, and at the same time we are constantly accused of not allowing German-speaking imams to enter our mosques.”
Murat Kayman sees it differently. Until nearly four years ago, he worked as a legal advisor at the Federal Assembly DITIB. Then the lawyer left. Today he says: After the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016, the influence of the Turkish religious authorities, especially on the federation, has grown steadily: “That is why I believe that the Federal Youth Assembly – no matter how well-meaning and benevolent young people want to be involved – is surrounded by a regulatory framework that will not allow this work to unfold, rather stifle it.”
Interviewees hope that the Mosques Association will continue to open up – also to non-Muslim organizations. On the other hand, most of them only want to marry a Muslim. It is easier in everyday life to marry a Muslim – no matter what language he speaks, says Betul Cinar, head of the regional union: “If I pray five times a day, my partner prays too, or if I fast during Ramadan and break the fast so that I can Also going down that path with my partner – that’s what I hope for.”
Young members demand Ditep to distance himself from Turkey
And the young members of DITIB have another wish: the mosque association should distance itself more from Turkey. Young members find it difficult to deal with as representatives of different government policies in Turkey, says study author Kulaçatan: “This is also a factor that puts a lot of pressure on them internally and they criticize it as well. The young people surveyed actually do so in the next generation.”
It is the older generation that is socialized differently and shaped their lives with the aim of a possible return to Turkey. Kollakatan says the younger generation wants to build a life in Germany for the long term. This is why it is important for the future of DITIB to take the criticisms of the young members seriously and prepare for a generational change now.
The study was published by Beltz Verlag:
Harry Harun Behr / Meltem Kulaçatan, DİTİB Youth Study 2021. Lifeworld Attitudes for Muslim Youth in Germany, Biltz Juventa Verlag, 185 pages, ISBN: 978-3-7799-6936-5, €24.95.