Fundamental Declaration of
the Central Council of Muslims
in Germany (ZMD) on the
relationship between Muslims,
their State and their Society.
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
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
Fundamental Declaration of the Central Council of
Muslims in Germany (ZMD) on the Relationship between
Muslims, their State and their Society.
Islam is the
"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.
in a merciful
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
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
all prophets of
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.
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.
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.
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.
creed, ethical norms,
social order, and
way of life
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 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.
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.
the basic legal order
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.
We do not seek
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
the Islamic doctrine
and Western core
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
by the Judeo-Christian-
and the Enlightenment
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.
It is necessary
to form a
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.
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
Reduction of prejudices
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.
all of society
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
the Islamic identity
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.
in the midst
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.
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.
You can order the Islamic Charta. Send (or transfer) us a protective charge of 3 EUR (incl. dispatch)* to the following account:
400 79 13
Bank identification code: 508635 13
Keyword: Islamic Charta (english version)
Send your order via post to:
Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD)
Postfach 12 24
via Fax: 02403 / 70 20 76
or via eMail: [email protected]
* If you order more than 2 quadruplicates, the costs amount to 1 EUR per Charta and 3 EUR forwarding costs