Fourteen Indonesians consisting of academics, researchers and journalists left for Germany on Saturday to study Muslim life in Germany in a two-week program sponsored by Goethe Institut, a German state-sponsored cultural institution.
The group will explore different places, including universities, and talk with experts and activists, such as those at Bahira Institute, which works to deradicalize certain refugees from the Middle East.
They will also analyze the diversity of Muslim communities in secular Germany and how these communities interact with the wider German people.
“The aim of the program was to provide insight into the daily life of Muslims in Germany and to shed light on their long history and influence in German society,” Goethe said in a statement.
Germany, alongside France, holds one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. Muslim populations have grown exponentially in Germany, from several thousands when the first batch of Turkish migrant workers came in 1945 to more than 4 million people in 2015.
As a secular state, Islamophobia existed, said Heinrich Bloemeke, Goethe’s regional director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
“However, in my perception, part of Islamophobia has nothing to do with Islam, but rather more of a response to religion [as German is a secular state],” Bloemeke said on Saturday
“All of Western society have gone through fights about what the role of the state is and what the role of the church is,” he added. (evi)