If you’re a teacher in Germany and are unsure whether to allow your Muslim pupils to pray at school, to skip swimming lessons or wear the veil, you may want to consult a new handbook aimed at dealing with the sometimes tricky task of reconciling Muslim practices with German schooling.
Berlin’s Ministry for Education, Science and Research has just published a guide called “Islam and School” giving practical advice on how to resolve these issues and encourage “people to live together respectfully and peacefully”, which you can find in German here.
The guidelines aim to boost the integration of Germany’s Muslim community, Europe’s second largest Muslim population after France. Around 4 million Muslims live in Germany, meaning about 5 percent of the overall population.
The issue has come to the fore in recent weeks with former Bundesbanker Thilo Sarrazin made disparaging criticism of Muslim immigrants in a best-selling book warning of the demise of traditional German society.
“For years, society and schools have been faced with a variety of new duties and challenges. One of these big challenges is to have people from different traditions, cultural and religious affiliations living together peacefully and respectfully,” said Juergen Zoellner, Berlin Minister for Education, Science and Research, in the introduction to the booklet.