A German news magazine is reporting on ongoing efforts to establish an umbrella group to represent Muslims in Germany. According to the report:
To date, no single body has represented the interests of the 3.3 million Muslims living in Germany. Now, four organisations want to change that. The Turkish-Islamic Union for the Institution of Religion (DITIB), the Islamic Council (IR), the Central Council of Muslims (ZMD) and the Association of Islamic Culture Centres (VIKZ) are joining forces to form an umbrella group which they hope will speak on behalf of all Muslims in Germany.”At the moment, we’re working on statutes and formalities,” ZMD General Secretary Aiman Mazyek told SPIEGEL ONLINE this week. The coordination committee, which has been meeting for the last half year, is forming a central organization at the federal level and coordinating bodies in the federal states. The new organization, as yet without a name, is scheduled to be launched by summer.
However, the magazine observes that the new council will have Muslim Brotherhood representation:
Until now, internal rivalries have prevented cooperation of this kind. The Turkish-Islamic Union for the Institution of Religion, which is partly funded by the Turkish government and enjoys a solid reputation among German politicians, has often positioned itself as the single mouthpiece for Muslims. For years, the Central Council of Muslims and the Islamic Council have been competing for the same distinction. But both organizations continue to face charges of fundamentalist affiliations; Milli Görüs, a movement with radical, anti-European tendencies and which is under observation by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is said to hold significant sway in the Islamic Council while some members of the Central Council are thought to have ties to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement.
In addition to suspect members of the Central Council, which interestingly also includes Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), German Muslim Brotherhood leader Ibrahim El-Zayat was recently invited to a planning meeting for the new group by one of the representatives of the Central Council. Mr. El-Zayat is head of the Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (IGD), officially listed by the Germany’s domestic intelligence agency as the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany. He is also a leader in many other important European Islamic organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE). Although the article points out the the new body will only represent a minority of German Muslims, European governments are desperately in search of dialog partners:
The four associations banding together represent a large number of Germany’s 3,000 mosques and prayer rooms, but only a small minority — roughly 15 percent — of their members. Nonetheless, Integration Minister Laschet maintains that “Even if the association represents a minority of Muslims in Germany, it’s the only visible one that can present one face and speak with one voice for the Muslims.”