Germany supports integration drive

The German government is planning to support mosques and other islamic religious institutions to promote integration.

Integrationsförderung für Moscheen

Berlin (dpa) - The German government plans to spend some 7 million euros (7.7 million dollars) in supporting around 50 mosques and institutions of the Alevi community over the coming three years, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Friday.

The 50 mosques and cemevi - as the Alevi places of assembly are called - are to be chosen not by the major Islamic associations in Germany but by four German institutions.

These are the German Child and Youth Foundation (DKJS), the Goethe Institute, the Otto Benecke Foundation, a politically neutral charity set up by German students, and the Paritaetische Wohlfahrtsverband, a charity that supports the ill and weak in society.

The project, announced in Berlin on Thursday, is to be organized by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), guided by a council of experts from Muslim organizations.

It is to support measures aimed at enhancing contacts between communities in the neighbourhood.

Alevism is a syncretic, heterodox Islamic tradition. Alevis are found primarily in Turkey among ethnic Turks and Kurds, and make up somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of its population.