CAIRO - Repeating earlier years' dilemma, a government-sponsored conference on Muslims in Germany has sparked a storm of criticism for focusing on terrorism as a key subject rather than promoting dialogue between the government and the Muslim minority.
The conference only makes sense as a dialogue with Muslim religious communities, Erol PÃ¼rlÃ¼ of the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers (VIKZ) which says it represents 300 Muslim communities nationwide, told the SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung in a report cited by The Local.de.
Taking place next week, the agenda of the German Islamic Conference has drawn the criticism of Muslim leaders across Germany.
The agenda, drafted by the interior ministry, puts terrorism as a key topic for talks.
Though his organization has accepted its invitation to attend, PÃ¼rlÃ¼ made it clear that expectations were low.
Kenan Kolat, chairman of Germany's Association of Turkish Communities (TGD), voiced similar concern.
In its current form, it no longer has any purpose, he said.
The conference was established by then-interior minister Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble in 2006 to improve the working relationship between the government and Muslim communities.
Topics discussed at subsequent meetings have included plans to put Islam on an equal footing with the Church, as well as Muslim religious education and the construction of mosques.
Though it was first proposed with the aim of promoting dialogue between the government and Muslim communities, the event has witnessed a loss of support over stalled talks and lack of progress.
Making a shift towards issues of security, several prominent Muslim organizations have pulled out of the talks in the past two years.
Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany said the conference needed an overhaul.
Ali Kizilkaya, chairman of the Islamic Council of Germany, described the conference as a train travelling in the wrong direction.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net