Wearing a headscarf as a teacher is no longer considered a disqualifier, or ‘knock-out criterion’, in many federal states in Germany. Ever since the Federal Constitutional Court overturned the headscarf ban, vacancies in schools and for public administration staff are increasingly being filled by women who wear headscarves. Not in Berlin, however, where the so-called ‘Neutrality Law’ still applies. But for how much longer? So far, a unified stance has been elusive in the newly-elected Berlin Senate and thus the debate continues. This topic is, of course, well-suited for discussions with students. ufuq.de’s Julia Gerlach has compiled the most important facts, arguments and background information.
As part of the “Highlighting Alternatives!” project (Alternativen aufzeigen!), we have created short films and exercises to support pedagogical work with students in grades 5 and up concerning Islam, racism, democracy, and Islamism. The films tap into current issues and developments in the media affecting youths and show the differing perspectives. The films and accompanying exercises do not seek to deliver simple answers. Instead they show that there are a number of diverse viewpoints and ideas when it comes to dealing with such issues. This comes with the invitation to develop one’s own point of view.
Annotierte Bibliographie, Kompetenz-Zentrum Pflegekinder (Berlin, 2016)
The 9th of November was a fateful day in German history: It coincides with the proclamation of the Weimar Republic in 1918, Pogrom Night (‘Night of Broken Glass’) in 1938 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. For today’s students much of this already seems like ancient history. They weren’t yet born and in many cases, their parents and grandparents hadn’t migrated to Germany yet. What significance do these dates have for youths?
The Berlin-based association ‘cultures interactive’ works on the topic of ‘Women, Gender and Extremism’. The results of this research project were released recently. It focusses on the relationship between gender and extremism. Aylin Yavas met with Silke Baer, who runs the project to learn about the roles of women in extremist movements and about the similarities between gender roles and gender-specific issues in Islamism and right-wing extremism.
The departure of young people to fight in Syria and Iraq has become a topic at many schools. Salafist indoctrination becomes a problem even before young people begin to call for violence. Social pressure, rigid worldviews and enemy images negatively impact the classroom climate and challenge instructors. ‘A critical approach in prevention work consists in recognizing your pupils’ faith in Islam and reinforcing them in their German-Muslim identity; this helps insulate them against the victim ideology propagated by Salafists’, according to Götz Nordbruch.
Orientation, purpose and community – a growing number of young people are receptive to the ideas and the propaganda of Salafist groups. While it is true that it’s rare to observe a fascination for violence among them, prevention doesn’t just begin once a readiness to use violence has already developed. It is also geared at preventing attitudes that are hostile to democracy and freedom from evolving. Dr. Götz Nordbruch describes approaches and when preventive measures should be taken.
In his article on the concept of prevention work that encompasses all of society, Sindyan Qasem writes: ‘Only by our acknowledgment of the unease, fear and anger of Muslim youths can we expect them to take the step of questioning their own black-and-white thinking and enemy images’. In order to work against anti-democratic positions that are hostile to freedom we need to be willing to take the experiences of young Muslims seriously and to address them in educational work.
Short films play an important role in our work with young people. They are a well-suited medium to highlight current – especially lifeworld-related– topics and to stimulate discussions. Nalan Yağcı introduces some of them.
Trained dialogue moderators from the ‘Dialog macht Schule’ mentoring program spend two hours a week in classrooms where they work with young people in a participatory dialogue manner to address topics such as homeland, racism and justice. Currently the program is active in Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover and Stuttgart. Civic education work like this also contributes to preventive work, as explained by the program’s founders Hassan Asfour and Siamak Ahmadi in an interview with Aylin Yavas.