In the coming school year, there will be Islamic religious education again in Hesse in cooperation with the Turkish mosque association Ditib.

The state government is making preparations for confession-oriented religious education to be resumed in the 2022/23 school year, said Minister of Education Alexander Lorz (CDU) on Wednesday in Wiesbaden.

The state government respects the recent decisions of the courts.

However, there are still doubts as to whether the Hessian Mosque Association is sufficiently independent of the Turkish state, the Minister of Education explained at the meeting of the cultural policy committee in the state parliament.

"That's why we will closely accompany the lessons with class visits."

VGU rebukes Hesse

In Hesse, the so-called confession-oriented Islamic religious education was introduced together with Ditib for the 2013/14 school year;

initially at primary schools, and from 2017/2018 also at the first secondary schools.

In April 2020, the Ministry of Education announced that it would suspend classes in the following school year, citing doubts about the association's suitability as a cooperation partner.

It is questionable whether the necessary independence from the Turkish state exists.

The Turkish Mosque Association took legal action against this decision.

The Hessian Administrative Court (VGH) then decided at the beginning of June that the state should not have suspended denominational Islamic religious education in cooperation with Ditib in 2020.

A judgment of the Administrative Court of Wiesbaden from the first instance became final (Az: 7 A 1802/21.Z).

The VGH's decision is no longer contestable.

According to the ministry, a scientific assessment in 2019 led to the conclusion that Ditib was not sufficiently independent from the Turkish state.

"However, because some time has passed since the last assessment, we will now seek external expertise again," announced Lorz.

"On this basis, it must then be decided whether the establishment decision from 2012, which forms the basis for the cooperation with Ditib Hessen, will be revoked by the state."

The mosque association Ditib reacted with incomprehension to the ministry's continuing reservations.

The doubts that continue to be raised are not understandable in view of the seven years of school practice in religious education that was free of complaints and disturbances.

"State Islam instruction is not sufficient"

Ditib explained that the religious education and didactic needs of the Muslim pupils could only be completely satisfied through confession-oriented religious education.

In this regard, state-run Islam education is insufficient and questionable under constitutional law.

The state religious community therefore reserves the right to review this range of courses in accordance with the rule of law.

The Minister of Education assures that the state government is sticking to the goal that there should also be an offer of denomination-oriented religious education for pupils of the Muslim faith in Hesse.

The "Islam Lessons" school trial, which is based on Islam studies, will be continued in the next school year and until further notice.

After the end of the cooperation with Ditib, the country took the Islamic religious education into its own hands.

To this end, it introduced the subject of Islam instruction, which is different from denominational religious instruction without an explicit commitment to the faith.

The Islam lessons, which are the sole responsibility of the state, are now aimed at pupils in grades one to nine.

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