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Germany To Young Muslims 'Berlin Needs You!'
by Julia Hoffmann
"Islam is not a part of Germany" read a headline in the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung before the start of a high-profile conference on Islam sponsored by Germany's Ministry of the Interior. Headlines like these show how controversial political discourse on Muslim integration is in Germany.
But these do not represent the whole reality of Muslim integration in the country. There are many examples of initiatives on both local and regional levels that are successfully addressing integration in Germany – especially when it comes to young people.
One of these initiatives is "Berlin needs you!", a campaign borne out of the need to support immigrant youth, including 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants, in Berlin. The majority of participants come from Muslim backgrounds, and the programme helps them navigate the German vocational training system and find careers in the public sector. When the programme began in 2006, only 8 per cent of those who had completed vocational training in public service and state-run companies came from immigrant backgrounds. The number climbed to 19 per cent in 2010 and the programme aims to reach 25 per cent soon.
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