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“Not really integrated”: Kretschmann receives criticism for statements about Islam in Germany

Stuttgart - Muslims and Islamic organizations have criticized Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) for his statements about Islam in Germany. "We as Muslims and the Islamic religious communities see our constitution as a guarantee for religious freedom and religious diversity," said the spokesman for the Islamic Faith Community of Baden-Württemberg, Muhittin Soylu, on SWR.

A religion cannot be reformed at the political request. Every religion has its processes and instruments to find answers to temporal challenges. Islam did not have a Reformation problem in Germany, but a problem of acceptance and recognition. Kretschmann's statements are "incomprehensible and completely unfounded".

The Green politician had told the magazine Herder-Korrespondenz (November issue) that Islam was “not really integrated” in Germany and had to reform in some places. The Catholic referred to the separation of state and church, without which freedom of belief and religion would not exist.

One could not "hide behind the good Lord"
“To see that the order of political affairs is the work of man and not made by God, was an epochal advance,” emphasized Kretschmann. This means that one is responsible for oneself and cannot "hide behind the good Lord". But in Islam there is “no such way of thinking at all - and that is one of its big problems”.

He also described the diversity of religious communities in Germany as a major challenge for the future federal government. While there was bloodletting in the big churches, on the other side the field was becoming more plural. "Keeping that together is very difficult."

The Muslim SWR journalist Merve Kayikci accused Kretschmann of generalising. “It's frustrating to hear something like that. Once again we are all lumped together and problematized. There is talk of the 'one' Islam.” The term “integration” is also inappropriate. "I was born here. I don't have to integrate myself anywhere. There is no deficit that I have to make up.” The word integration implies that something is missing.

"Islam fits everywhere"
It is almost the same with Islam. “It fits everywhere. Islam does not have to be an explicit fit for Germany as long as it is lived within the framework of the legal limits. And we all do that.” Cabaret artist Muhsin Omurca made a similar statement. "I am of the opinion that the Germans understand something different than the migrants. The Germans see integration more as assimilation."

However, Omurca also admitted that there were problems with integration. At an appearance in Duisburg this week, numerous people with an immigrant background were among the audience. "Already in the first 15 minutes I noticed that they didn't understand me at all." There were also younger people among them. “I was very confused about the poor language skills.” He therefore called for a Turkish and Arabic television program to be produced by the public broadcasters.

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