The Young Islam Conference celebrates its 10th anniversary

The Young Islam Conference (JIK) celebrates its 10th anniversary. As a dialogue platform and empowerment space for young people, the JIK has been taking up debates about Islam and Muslims since its founding, addressing issues of a plural society and providing impetus in these discourses. On October 25, former project director Esra Küçük and social scientist Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan, among others, will meet with the young network to discuss the future of the post-migrant society.

In the year after Thilo Sarrazin’s book „Deutschland schafft sich ab“ (Germany is abolishing itself) was published, which anchored an openly Islamophobic mood in the public debate in Germany, young people from all over Germany came together for the first time to create a counter-narrative: at the Young Islam Conference (YIC), initiated by the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Mercator Foundation. Since then, the JIK has represented the credo „Haltung statt Herkunft“ („attitude instead of origin“). Behind this is the basic attitude that pluralistic lifeworlds should be perceived as a positive reality and lived as normality. Until then, there had been no cross-origin and cross-religious forum in Germany for young people to reflect on and discuss images of Islam and Muslims in society.

At today’s anniversary celebration, we want to look together with our guests and the young network at how the discourse on Islam in Germany has changed over the past ten years. What role does JIK play in the discourse today, why are young, post-migrant voices so crucial in the debate, and what does the future of Germany as a (post-)migration society look like? In this context, we also want to present the publication „Critique and Visions of a Postmigrant Society“, which was produced in the context of the JIK network.

For the director of the Young Islam Conference Dr. Asmaa Soliman, the postmigrant generation is also a central player in a sustainable society. „Even though ten years since the founding of JIK postmigrant voices have become louder, they still need more space and recognition. Young people from a wide variety of backgrounds and biographies shape culture, are committed to social cohesion and are a fundamental part of our coexistence. This is what makes us a post-migration society, the added value of which is non-negotiable“ – says Soliman.

And young representatives of the JIK network also want to assume their social responsibility. „It’s important to listen to each other and build acceptance for something you haven’t come in contact with before,“ says Zöhre Yari, who is part of the JIK committee. „We need a social change that we, as a post-migrant generation, are ready to help shape. We see ourselves as bridge builders paving the way towards a more inclusive society – perhaps also as future decision makers – Yari added.

Other panelists include the managing director of the Allianz Cultural Foundation and project initiator Esra Küçük, social pedagogue Dr. Constantin Wagner from the University of Mainz and casting director and author Raquel Kishori Dukpa.

The anniversary celebration will take place as a hybrid event on October 25 from 6-10 p.m. and will be livestreamed starting at 6:45 p.m. You can watch the livestream here.

The Young Islam Conference was founded in Berlin in 2011 as a project of Humboldt University and Stiftung Mercator. Since October 2019, the JIK is part of the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe as a program area. The JIK is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Mercator Foundation and in the program Demokratie Leben! of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs.