German interior minister speaks in Cairo on Muslim integration | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 21.06.2009
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German interior minister speaks in Cairo on Muslim integration

In a speech at Cairo University in Egypt, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble sought understanding for Germany's integration policies. The speech came just ahead of the next German Islam conference in Berlin.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

Schaueble says Germany guarantees freedom of religion

In his Cairo speech, Schaeuble pointed out that there was legal equality for Muslims in Germany. The country's three million Muslims have "the same rights, because our state guarantees freedom of religion and is not limited to a singular world view."

The interior minister explained it was crucial that Muslims living in Germany learnt the language and added that the successful integration of Islam into western societies will only work if Muslims accept democratic constitutions "without condition."

"Whether we like it or not, there are many people who think that Islam and democracy don't mix. These are often people who have prejudices against Islam," Schaeuble told the audience of Egyptian politicians and intellectuals.

"But we must also not ignore the fact that there are some Muslims who also hold this opinion," Schaeuble continued. He warned that this minority was seeing to it “that their opinion is heard worldwide."

To combat anti-democratic tendencies, Schaeuble also said that Muslim children living in Germany should receive Islamic courses in German. He supported the plan that Islamic clerics in the country should also be trained at German universities.

Currently most of the clerics at Muslim mosques in Germany have received their religious training outside of Germany. This, Schaeuble stressed, could only be a temporary solution.

Ahead of his speech, the German interior minister met with several representatives of the Egyptian government, as well as Muslim and Christian clerics.

The trip to Egypt comes four days ahead of the next German Islam Conference - which Schaeuble helped initiate. The conference will begin on Thursday in Berlin.

ai/dpa/KNA
Editor: Kateri Jochum

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