Imams for Integration
Imams for Integration, a Goethe-Institut project supported by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), took place from 2009 to 2012. It was conducted in cooperation with the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB).
The goal was to enable imams to recognise the specific integration-related needs and problems of Muslims in Germany, offer solutions and put members of their communities in touch with support services if needed. In this way, imams can serve as intermediaries, building bridges between the members of Muslim communities and society at large, thus playing an important role in fostering communication and integration. In addition to providing the imams with language training and courses on German culture and society, a further objective was to promote their ability to cooperate with government institutions and other relevant actors.
Within the three-year project period, training was provided to 135 imams at nine different locations all over Germany. The programme was launched with courses in Nuremberg and Cologne in December 2009, followed by Frankfurt, Hanover and Karlsruhe in September 2010. Four other locations, including Düsseldorf and Hamburg, were added in September 2011.
In each course, imams from surrounding communities received about 500 hours of German instruction while they continued with their duties. The curriculum also included various day-long seminars on intercultural topics as well as materials on Germany in general such as: the state and the pluralistic society, everyday life in Germany, religious diversity, migration, education and vocational training, and the role of clubs and associations. Through visits to municipal and church facilities, including the opportunity to observe meetings and other activities, the programme focused on hands-on learning and applicable skills. In addition, the close ties to the various cities and the local administrations helped to eliminate prejudices on both sides.