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Islamic Charta

Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD)



Fundamental Declaration of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) on the relationship between Muslims, their State and their Society.
Preface
Islam is not a new phenomenon in Germany, and it certainly is not one in passing. More than 3.2 million Muslims now live in Germany, a great number of them belonging to the 3rd or even 4th generation already. Most Muslims identify with German society and will definitely stay for good in Germany. The Muslims living in Germany, not only 500.000 ones of German nationality, now feel at home there. In general, they do no longer consider themselves as immigrants in a guest country but as German citizens, or prospective ones. As an important minority in this country, Muslims are under the obligation to integrate themselves into German society, with an open mind, and to enter into dialogue about their faith and religious practices. In turn, the majority in this country is entitled to learn the position Muslim take towards basics like the Federal Constitution, the rule of law, democracy, pluralism, and human rights. It is not as if the Muslims had failed to pronounce themselves on such issues. Yet there is a need to give the majority in this country answers that are clear, definite, and comprehensive, a necessity ever more obvious now than before September 11, 2001. This Islamic Charta, adopted unanimously by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany during the meeting, on 3 February, 2002, of its representatives, is designed to make evident its position towards the fundamental issues mentioned above. Thus it is to contribute to a dispassionate debate on the political and social level.

Dr. Nadeem Elyas Berlin, 20 February, 2002
Chairman


Islamic Charta
Fundamental Declaration of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) on the Relationship between Muslims, their State and their Society.

Islam is the religion of Peace 1.
"Islam" simultaneously means peace and submission. Thus, Islam is considered the religion in which, through voluntary submission to God, human beings find peace with themselves and their environment. Historically, Islam - next to Judaism and Christianity - is one of three monotheistic world religions founded in the Near East. Continuing the sequence of divine revelations, Islam has much in common with the other two religions.


We believe in a merciful God 2.
Muslims believe in God whom, like Arab Christians, they call "Allah". He - the God of Abraham and of all other prophets - is One and Unique, not limited by time or space. He is the uncaused cause of all being, defeating any attempt at definition: transcendent and immanent, just and merciful. It is He Who in his Omnipotence created the world and shall maintain it until doomsday, day of the Last Judgement.


The Qur'an is a verbal relevation of divine origin 3.
Muslims believe that God periodically sent prophets to mankind in order to transmit His message, down to the last one of them, Muhammad, "seal of prophethood", in the 7th C.E.. The Quraan is the authentic word of God bestowed on Muhammad and explained by him. His sayings and model behavior have been preserved in the Prophet´s Sunnah (tradition). Both together form the fundamental bases of the Islamic creed, law, and life style.


4. We believe all prophets of God
Muslims equally respect all who preceded Muhammad, including Moses and Jesus. They are convinced that the Qurlan restored and confirmed pure monotheism as the fundamental truth not only held by Abraham but by all messengers of God.


5. All people are accountable on the Day of Judgment
Muslims believe that man, in as much as he enjoys free will, is responsible for his actions and accountable for them on the Day of Judgment.


6. Male and female Muslims share the same purpose in life
Muslims, male or female alike, share the same task in life: To recognize God, to serve Him, and to obey His commands. This will also help to assure equality, freedom, justice, compassion, and prosperity on earth.


The five pillars of Islam 7.
Main duties of Muslims are the five pillars of Islam: The confession of faith; prayer (five times daily); fasting during the month of Ramadan; paying religious taxes (zakat), and going on pilgrimage to Makkah.


Islam is creed, ethical norms, social order, and way of life 8.
Islam is neither a purely otherworldly religion nor one focusing too much on worldly affairs. Rather it teaches a middle-of-the-road approach. Being oriented towards God, Muslims are theocentric. However, they are seeking the best of both worlds. Therefore, Islam simultaneously is a creed, ethical norms, social order, and a way of life. Wherever they are, Muslims are expected actively to contribute to the common good and to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters in faith, world-wide.


Islam is not out to abolish affluence 9.
Islam is not out to abolish affluence but rather to abolish poverty. Indeed, Islam protects private property while recognized its obligation towards the common weal and the ecological environment. Also, it encourages the spirit of initiative of responsible entrepreneurship.


10. Islamic Law is relevant for Muslims in the Occident
Muslims can live anywhere in the world, provided they can fulfill their fundamental religious duties. As a matter of principle, Islamic jurisprudence obliges Muslims in the Occident to respect, and abide by, the local legal order. Against this background, asking for, and accepting, a visa, a permit of residence or a foreign nationality are considered as contracts to be respected by the members of a Muslim minority.


11. Muslims accept the basic legal order guaranteed by the Constitution
Whether German citizens or not, the Muslims represented by the Central Council (ZMD) accept the basic legal order of the Federal Republic of Germany as guaranteed by its Constitution, provididing for the rule of law, division of power, and democracy, including a multi-party system, universal suffrage and eligibility, and freedom of religion. Therefore they accept as well everybody´s right to change his religion, to have another religion, or none at all. The Qurean forbids any compulsion or coercion in matters of faith.


12. We do not seek to establish a clerical theocracy
We do not aim at establishing a clerical theocracy. Rather we welcome the system existing in the Federal Republic of Germany where State and religion harmoniously relate to each other.


There is no contradiction between the Islamic doctrine and Western core human rights 13.
There is no contradiction between the divine rights of the individual, anchored in the Qurhan, and the core right as embodied in Western human rights declarations. We, too, support the intended protection of individuals against an abuse of State power. Islamic law demands equal treatment of what is identical and permits unequal treatment of what is not identical. The command of Islamic law to observe the local legal order includes the acceptance of the German statutes governing marriage and inheritance, and civil as well as criminal procedure.


Being impregnated by the Judeo-Christian- Islamic heritage and the Enlightenment 14.
Europeans culture resulted from the classical Hellenistic- Roman heritage, the Judeo-Christian-Islamic one, and the Enlightenment. In fact, European culture has been heavily influenced by Islamic philosophy and civilization. Also during the current transition from modernity to post-modernity Muslims are ready to contribute decisively to the overcoming of contemporary crises. This includes their Quroanically demanded commitment to religious pluralism, their unconditional rejection of racism and chauvinism, as well as their wholesome way of life that shuns any form of addiction.


15. It is necessary to form a European Muslim identity
The Qur'an repeatedly calls upon people to make use of their power of reasoning and their faculties of observation. In that sense, the message of Islam is rationalistic, a fact which saved Islamic history from any serious clash between religion and science. It is in keeping with this tradition that we support a contemporary reading of the Islamic sources which takes into account both the particular problematics of contemporary issues and the development of a properly European Muslims identity.


16. Our interests and activities are focused on Germany
The Central Council (ZMD) is mainly dealing with matters concerning Islam and Muslims in Germany and German society as a whole, without neglecting their links with the Islamic world. For the local Muslim population Germany is the focal point of their lives, interests, and activities.


Reduction of prejudices through transparency, open-mindedness, and dialogue 17.
The Central Council (ZMD) considers it to be one of its most important tasks to create confidence on which to base a constructive coexistence of the Muslim population with the majority and other minorities. This requires a reduction of the prevailing prejudices through information, transparency, open-mindedness, and dialogue.


We are responsible for all of society 18.
The Central Council (ZMD) feels responsible for society in its entirety. Together with other social groups it therefore endeavors to make a significant contribution towards more tolerance, better ethical behavior, as well as an effective protection of the environment and of animals. The Central Council (ZMD) deplores the violation of human rights wherever and whenever this occurs. Thus it is a partner in the fight against religious discrimination, xenophobia, racism, sexism, and violence.


To integrate while maintaining the Islamic identity 19.
The Central Council (ZMD) promotes an integration into society of the Muslim population which will not be detrimental to their Islamic identity. Therefore it supports all efforts for a better minority command of the German language and for better access to German citizenship.


20. Dignified life in the midst of society
In addition, the Central Council (ZMD) assumes the task of assuring, together with all other Islamic institutions in Germany, that the Muslims here lead a dignified Islamic way of life within the realm of the Constitution and the existing legal order.
This implies, e.g.,
  • introduction of Islamic religious instruction into the school system, to be provided in German,
  • establishment of academic professorships for the university education of teachers of Islam and imams,
  • permission of the building of mosques in down-town areas,
  • authorization of the public call to prayer, reinforced by loud-speakers,
  • respect by schools and administrations for the Islamic dress code,
  • co-option of Muslims into the existing media control bodies,
  • implementation of the right to slaughter according to the Islamic ritual as decided, in 2001, by the Federal Constitutional Court,
  • recruiting Muslim imams into the chaplain´s corps of the armed forces,
  • Muslim religious assistance in hospitals and social institutions,
  • official protection of the two Muslim religious holidays,
  • providing cemeteries, or sections thereof, for Islamic burial.


21. Political neutrality
The Central Council (ZMD) is politically neutral. Muslims entitled to vote will give their ballot to those candidates who support their rights and aims most strongly and show the greatest comprehension of Islam.



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