Muslims have NDEs

"Where structures exist that favor othering" - Islam is represented in Protestant and Catholic school books

Janosch Freuding, born in Füssen in 1987, studied German, Catholic theology and Islamic studies in Augsburg and Bamberg. After an exchange year at the University of Izmir, he initiated the transnational German-Turkish youth film project bu bizimki / es sind wir. In addition to his work as a teacher for German as a foreign language, Janosch Freuding is currently doing his doctorate in religious education at the University of Bamberg on othering and interreligious learning. He has been writing regularly for MiGAZIN since 2014. In an interview with the philosopher and educationalist Alexander Graeff, Janosch Freuding reports on forms of othering in Protestant and Catholic religious teaching.

As part of your doctorate, you will develop the theoretical foundations for interreligious learning and for an article in MiGAZIN(2014) you have some textbooks that are in use for Catholic and Protestant religious instructionexamined in relation to representations of Islam and other non-Christian religions. What kind of picture does this show?

As part of my university thesis, I examined several, predominantly Catholic textbooks from Bavaria. Many textbooks1 have the following structure in the chapters on Islam:

1. Under the motto “Encounters with Muslims in our society"Manifestations of Muslim life in the" neighborhood "are illuminated. It is questionable what is meant by “us” in “our society” and to what extent this society extends - is it the Christian perspective? One textbook is entitled: “Muslims and Us”. This us / we is implicitly brought into social opposition to Muslim life. Even the motto “encounter” implicitly always includes a difference that must first be overcome. Another textbook asks even more pointedly: “Muslims - neighbors or strangers?”.

2. After these first locations, a “study trip to Islam” takes place in many textbooks, in which specialist knowledge about Islam is conveyed: the biography of Muhammad, the five pillars of Islam, etc. This study trip moves away from the German present into the Orient and into the East Past. Romanticizing orientalisms are spoken of (“Journey into the Unknown”, “Let yourself be enchanted by the beauty of Islamic countries”, “1001 Nights”), but statements such as: B. on the image of women in Islam.

3. After this educational journey, there is an abrupt leap into the present: critical areas of discussion are addressed, such as: B. the headscarf debate or Islamist terrorism.

4. Finally, there is often a prayer for peace, but mostly from a Christian perspective (in Catholic textbooks, for example, a prayer by Pope Benedict).

Overall, a picture of the strangeness of Islam is perpetuated, which in spite of its immediate proximity remains associated with an oriental culture, and all of the “great achievements of Muslims” listed here (the most recent here in the 18th century). Today's coexistence, on the other hand, is often perceived as problematic (“terror”, “headscarf”). It is true that not all religious textbooks can be lumped together in this way, but for many textbooks it can be said that their representations of Islam emphasize its “foreignness” and systematically make it “more foreign”. In technical terms, this process is called "othering".

The textbooks examined are now a bit older, born in 2005 for grammar schools, or even earlier for other types of schools. I therefore hoped that the new textbooks that are gradually being published as part of the new Bavarian curriculum would be better in this regard. Unfortunately, in the curriculum specifications on the subject of Islam in the 7th grade, the same catchwords can be found that also determined the structure of the previous textbooks: "Encounter with Muslims", "Manifestations of Muslim religious life in one's own environment", "Five pillars of Islam", "Potential for conflict and examples of peaceful coexistence ”,“ Approaches to dialogue and understanding ”. Let me put it this way: It will be very difficult to create better textbooks on this basis.

In your article you write that the depictions of Islam in the schoolbooks you examined were “a single mistake”, but also that the stereotypes about Islam depicted in them were developed “out of an actually positive intention”. I was wondering if that's really the case. What makes you sure that said representations were actually "well-intentioned"?

That they were “a single mistake” was of course very polemical. The article, I have to say, is already four years old, I don't know whether I would put it so sharply again today. But the tendency is still the same: Many of the textbooks examined are often problematic in terms of their basic structure. Nevertheless, I perceive many religious educators and didactics who are committed to interreligious exchange as people who care about the peaceful coexistence of religions. I think rather that many problematic images of Islam in the textbooks go back to stereotypes that exist throughout German society, but can be traced back at least as much to the way textbooks are created. As I said, it is not that easy to create a good textbook chapter that deals with Islam, for example, against the background of the current curriculum specifications in Bavaria. Trying to teach learners an entire religion in just a few weeks can almost only end like a woodcut. This is particularly worrying, as many teachers use textbooks, especially when it comes to interreligious topics in which they often do not feel confident.

In a textbook that you criticized it says that “language bridges” have to be built. In it, learners are asked to know how to deal with Turkish resp. Muslim (!) young people to learn a sentence in Turkish for the purpose of “good mood”: “Burasini nasil buluyorsunuz?” - How do you find it here? ”. Othering could not emerge more clearly, because the word “here” (which is contrasted with “there”) not only reveals a territorial self-localization, but also a patronizing and essentially delimiting approach, and thus actually a turning away from the supposedly foreign. Provocatively asked: Is this a typical behavior of majority religions, such as Christianity, which reveals an eminent inside-outside scheme? (see Friederike Gräff: Is God still a member of the Protestant Church ?, Zeit, 2014).

Just because such passages can be found in religious books does not have to have any internal religious reasons. It is more likely that paternalistic patterns are used that are generally present in society and with which majority / minority relationships are negotiated. In 2011 there was a large-scale European textbook study by the Georg Eckert Institute for Textbook Research with the title: “No chance of belonging? School books from European countries keep Islam and modern Europe separate ”.2 The phenomena outlined above are not limited to religious books, but can also be found in the history books of many countries.

Of course, evidence can also be found that such thought structures also stem from intra-religious structures. In order to be able to really answer whether this is a “typical behavior of majority religions”, to be honest, I am not well versed in religious studies. I can only say: One of the central ideas of the New Testament is that the community of those who are baptized in Christ and follow him, according to Paul, together represent the “body of Christ”, with the various believers as its “members”. This picture literally means the "embodiment" of an inside-outside scheme. Because there are not only those who, in all the diversity of their “spiritual gifts”, belong to the one body and participate in the kingdom of God, but also explicitly those who are excluded from this community of salvation. In addition to thieves and robbers, these are also the "malakoi"(" Sissies ") and"arsenokoitai"(" Mit-Mann-Lieger "). In the same letter to the Corinthians, which creates an integral symbol for the unity of the Christian community in its diversity, there is also one of the three central passages of the New Testament, where homosexuality is discussed pejoratively.

In this respect, yes, there are inner-outer schemata, and this simultaneous inclusion and exclusion, of course, theologically goes to the nitty-gritty. It is well known that in the history of Christianity there are many examples of such theologically spoken exclusions having dire consequences. For me, this example shows time and again that religious-mythical forms of language sometimes have a problematic proximity to the mythical-symbolic language of othering. Religious language must therefore be particularly careful that its symbolic language images do not become powerful symbols of exclusion.

So when collectively generated identity markers have such an impact on individual identity formation, I am not surprised that inside-outside schemes or here-there constructions are also central to religions. Is that enough? Or could one say that social structures always convey religious thinking in this sense?

Discourses and media of interreligious education are ordered in many ways by further problematic structures and then reproduce problematic order structures. It starts with the simple fact that what is now called interreligious learning or interreligious education was still called "foreign religion didactics" 40 years ago and later "didactics of world religions" - a conceptual inheritance from whose structures one can first free oneself got to. Even the task of bringing the content of “world religions” closer to learners draws on the historically highly problematic construct of “world religions”, the lines of which go back a long way. If in Catholic religious education it is still spoken of the fact that "Far Eastern religions" due to their "complexity"3 can only be dealt with in the upper level, then the underlying understanding is first of all still similar to the first drafts of religious education in this direction.4 Second, it is also not far from the understanding that e.g. B. in Friedrich Schlegel's book About the language and wisdom of the Indians can be read in 1808.

However, there are much more basic mechanisms by which images are perpetuated through religions. In several textbook series of a Bavarian schoolbook publisher, the same photo of a “kebab seller” can be found in the respective chapters on Islam, and that over a period of 20 years. That certainly has a lot to do with the publisher's image rights, but also with the fact that it was apparently not seen as problematic either by the publisher or by the editor to illustrate the subject of Islam with such a photo. And speaking of structures: Did you know that in Bavaria not only the state approval and the judgment of the textbook commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference decide on the approval of a Catholic textbook, but that all seven Bavarian bishops must also give their consent? (cf. Arndt Zickgraf: Modern Religious Books: Between the Stools, Klett Topic Service No. 78 [10/2017]). All the authorities involved decide according to their own organizational categories. Something like this also ultimately shapes a textbook.

In your doctorate you problematize othering in the sense of post-colonial theory not only as a phenomenon for structures of exclusion, but also try to make it plausible as an ordering principle of social systems. The term is usually used critically in discourse. Is it important to you to think othering affirmatively?

As you say, phenomena of othering can also be explained as a concomitant of daily behavior. But to understand othering affirmatively for this reason goes too far. To think affirmatively about his structures of (conscious) alienation, which leads to the social exclusion of many people, would even be problematic. I think that a normative anti-othering approach should guide the educational sciences in particular, countering structures of exclusion where possible and mitigating their consequences. What I have my problems with, however, is the accusatory tone that often prevails in post-colonial theory. That is certainly also a reproach that can also be made against my own MiGAZIN article mentioned at the beginning. However, for me it is less about individual provocative, perhaps unsuccessful formulations, but rather about a basic attitude behind them. I wonder what ways out of the sheer despair that often shines through in texts of post-colonial theory in view of the ubiquitous complicity with structures of exclusion. If you as a person are “complicit” on a large and small scale with an omnipresent construction of the respective social stranger, in the end the question arises as to where this knowledge leads. Especially since the diagnosis of postcolonial theory is largely correct and a wide variety of complicacies actually exist. We were born into a world in which colonial power relations are reproduced to this day. We cannot free ourselves from the fact that we in Germany are globally on the more favorable side of power - it is, as Spivak says, our "burden of the fittest"5. Such hegemonic structures also persist in European, national or regional contexts: Historically and socially constructed difference markers such as skin color or marked religious symbols such as the headscarf determine social participation or the respective socio-economic status. In our language, metaphor, in our cultural interaction, in gender relations, in science and knowledge, there are countless relics of power structures that we thought have already been overcome. Very often these structures follow the intention to construct an own identity and to stabilize this identity with the knowledge of the foreignness of the stranger. Orders maintain themselves, as one could say with Luhmann. As humans, we often prefer to contradict ourselves in terms of content than give up our clearly delineated identities. All of these are different complicacies with structures of exclusion, in very different, otherwise very difficult to compare contexts. My question, with the whole dilemma of ubiquitous otherings in mind, is simply: What now?

Exactly what now? This explains the problematic portrayals of Islam, but does not solve the problem.

First you have to accept the circumstances as they are. A fiery accusation such as that made by Edward Said, who in Orientalism(1978 [link leads to PDF], preface 2003) a continuous line of hegemonic oppression of the Orient from Napoleon to George W. Bush is quickly used up. The internal contradictions of such an equation can soon no longer be concealed. Such an accusation is quickly lost in problematic conclusions when the establishment of the state of Israel is seen as a colonial act, Israel and Japan are described by Gayatri Spivak as "two absurdities" at both ends of Asia6 and Said even had himself photographed as a Palestinian stone thrower against Israel.7 These examples show me that even postcolonial theory is not immune to a problematic construction of the other / foreign - which, in my opinion, is still neglected in reception. It can be assumed that any theory at all problematically helps to construct something alien that contradicts this theory.

But don't you think that after such a long and persistent existence of ambivalent structures and complicacies one doesn't have to complain? How should something change, just through theory and meta-reflection?

I do not want to deny anyone complaints and resistance in the face of structures of exclusion. How could I? I am looking for the most effective methods possible for overcoming structures of exclusion - and to do this I have to understand them as well as possible. The logos grows out of pathos, as Bernhard Waldenfels says, reflection grows out of experience. This pathos is not an end in itself, but an absolutely crushing experience of foreignness, an experience of exclusion and speechlessness, experiences of the foreignness of the environment, of others and, last but not least, of the foreignness of one's own self.The experiences become particularly bitter when everyday experiences of strangeness, which all people experience, are joined by experiences of social strangeness. When people appear as foreign in almost all contexts of their lives, they are so foreign that they can no longer be heard when they speak. For me this is the worst form of othering. Even if othering and experiences of foreignness are commonplace, and we as human beings are permanently entangled in structures of complicity, religious education should at least counteract this worst form of othering. That is the line I am looking for, and for this I try to understand how such othering comes about and what orders it is based on.

That is the wish, but how do you implement it or how do you make Waldenfels ’definition of foreignness compatible with your topic?

In my dissertation, I am trying to combine several approaches to the field of foreignness, one of which is Waldenfels' approach. In this way I would like to better understand the basic assumptions or concepts of foreignness from which interreligious education approaches. The aim of this approach is, on the one hand, to constructively appreciate religious-educational concerns, but on the other hand, to make them compatible with concerns such as the post-colonial-influenced othering theory describes.

After the insight into the textbooks described above, it is not entirely surprising that very many religious-educational approaches understand what is their own and what is foreign in an essentialist way. They describe foreignness primarily in terms of the experience of foreignness, of the experience of foreign phenomena. Their approach is above all a phenomenological approach, a power-theoretical reflection on the concepts of foreignness in a post-structuralist or post-colonial way is largely lacking.

Against this background, Waldenfels is a very good bridge reference. On the one hand, Waldenfels describes himself as a phenomenologist and is also very often used in religious education. On the other hand, he is not only a very good expert on the phenomenological philosophy of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Levinas', but also the philosophy of Foucault and Derrida, both of which are often quoted in post-colonial theory. So there are certainly theoretical overlaps. More important for my approach, however, is that Waldenfels connects the experience of the foreign with the foreign's own order. He says that strangeness is the “extraordinary”, the unknown, incomprehensible, extraterritorial that cannot simply be classified into the world’s own order. In this way, experiences of foreignness initiate a double process: If something seems foreign to me, I experience the limits of my own system of order - what is foreign to a certain extent questions my existing order of the world and embodies other possibilities of order in the world that do not fit my existing orders. At the same time, of course, identifying what is alien is again an act of order: I define something as “messy, unsuitable” and at the same time affirm my own order, which is, so to speak, “orderly”. Othering is the permanent reproduction of such simple external attributions and the unwillingness to question one's own, existing order. The concept of order itself, although it is so central to Waldenfels, is not sufficiently clarified in many publications on religious education. One of the focal points of my work is therefore to theoretically better understand the processes of order of the alien, which also includes othering processes.

Speaking of order. In general, you see the connection between interreligious learning and denominational religious instruction as positive. How do you think this can go together? After all, against the background of pluralistic societies in Europe, denominational religious education has come under strong pressure to legitimize it (see guest contribution by Peter A.nths: Denominational religious education under pressure - a chance for an alternative subject?, 2016).

In my MiGAZIN article, I do not describe denominational religious education as explicitly positive. How do you fix that?

I thought so because you are studying Protestant and Catholic textbooks for denominational teaching, you have studied Catholic theology and interreligious learning is your central topic.

The fact that interreligious learning takes place in denominational religious instruction in most federal states is first and foremost a current reality. From today's perspective, however, I would formulate more precisely what I mean by denominational religious instruction. The discussion about him is a long-running debate that reboots every few years. There are also very controversial views on this question among religious educators.8 Indeed, one must ask whether denominational religious education in its current form is still up-to-date in the face of increasing social plurality. How can it be organized at all if the adoption of the denomination term for non-Christian religions is problematic?9 Or if on the Christian side the connection to the two major denominations in Germany is waning and learners and teachers in Christian-Catholic and Christian-Protestant religious education are finding it increasingly difficult to name what actually defines the denominational profile of their religious education?10 What would the alternative be: a denominational, cooperative "Christian" religious instruction versus a cooperative "Islamic" religious instruction? Or should one say goodbye to the concept of denomination and consistently focus on religious education, ideologically plural, religious instruction "for everyone"?

I would agree with the latter. Not you?

What I personally appreciate about the term denomination is that it clearly names (or at least wants to name) its own positioning within a social plurality. And, as far as I see the discussion on religious education on this question, this is also the majority of opinions: Firstly, religious education must urgently become more plural, but secondly it must clearly state its own ideological position - that learners have the opportunity to adopt it themselves behavior.

Can that be expected of an individual? I mean that it "clearly" names its ideological position. We are dealing here with the formation of an identity and it is polymorphic. Anyone who can name worldviews “clearly” is suspicious to me, if I'm honest. In my opinion, he or she falls back too much on the illusion of collective identity, which is not only politically problematic, but also questionable with regard to the autonomy of a subject, and thus also difficult from an educational point of view.11

There you mention an important point. You are right, religious education should by no means construct a collective identity behind which individual positions disappear. I am also not concerned with individuals breaking down their own world views down to the fine print. Much would be gained, however, if teachers did not disguise their rough personal religious orientation and, for example, make it clear when they see themselves as contradicting the material they are teaching. Such a designation of one's own perspectives is always a subsequent construction, always only provisional. It is, to use a term from Luhmann, a “reduction of complexity” and never reflects a complete reality. Therefore, renouncing an ideological self-positioning is not an alternative - also to get closer to that, what cannot be said. It is essential to “measure your own silence”, as Spivak would say.

It is therefore important that individuals learn to discover their personal worldview and that which remains hidden from them for the time being. Their subjective worldview is never completely autonomous, but is also shaped by collective order patterns. Some form of collective imprinting seems to exist, otherwise the whole post-colonial criticism would be unnecessary. There are social orders that shape the identity of individuals and there are also orders of teaching. However, these orders are not a supra-individual, knowing I, but rather an order, regularity. It is important to uncover these regularities that shape the formation of religious identity.

But what would this approach do to denominations? Do they go together with a contradicting identity formation?

The denominational perspective has multiple meanings in the discussion about religious education: First, it stands for the development of an individual religious perspective. Second, it stands as a term for the content of the religious creed itself that is conveyed in the classroom. Thirdly, it stands for the fact that religious education in a pluralist society actually names its “own” religious position and does not appear to be ideologically neutral. Since I consider the idea of ​​such a neutrality of ideologically plural forms of religious instruction to be an illusion, the last point in particular seems understandable to me as an argument in favor of denominational instruction.

That means you don't see any contradiction between the more religious studies lessonsmethods and Learning objectives of interreligious and intercultural learning and denominational lessons that - as you write yourself - feel overwhelmed by taking on "multi-religious [and] multicultural" tasks in addition to their "own" religion and, yes, clinging to their own beliefs?

As I said, there is always something “of my own”, whether I want it or not. Even if I say that I look at the diversity of religion from a religious studies perspective, without taking a position - then my position is that I do not want to take a position. And it is precisely this (supposedly neutral) position that can come into conflict with others who, in contrast, take a very strong position and do not allow any further positions besides themselves. Suddenly I realize that my own position is alien to other positions, even though I actually do no Wanted to take a position and to a certain extent wanted to stand “above” the positions and their disputes. In this respect, I don't see any fundamental contradiction between professing one's own personality and methods of religious studies - simply because there is no such thing as a religious study “without a position”. Simply opening up a contrast between religious studies and denominational religious education misses the core of the problem. Religious education must clarify what a religious education can look like that is aware that it has its own position. Confessional teaching must clarify what its denomination means. And I can reveal an open secret here: The church-dogmatic position is not equal the position of the teaching staff not equal the position of the learner. So what is the denominational position of teaching? To clarify this, we need a denominational religious education that is literally a "confession", a disclosure of one's own position - not a denominational lesson that simply repeats a given church position: a person “melts” in his own position with the given one Okay - or at least pretends to do it. This is also what Spivak criticizes again and again: As a researching or teaching person, one must not make oneself “transparent”, should not disguise one's own statements and positions that one follows or that one undertakes. It can be observed again and again that religious educators encourage learners to find their own religious or non-religious position, but become very silent when it comes to revealing their very personal religious position. The type of religious instruction does not have to be decisive for this: one can just as easily hide behind a denominational order of religious education as behind an ideological-plural order.

I think that one can very well make one's ideological position, which does not have to be religious at all, transparent in a religious studies lesson without having to go along with an affirmative, denominational perspective. And anyway - for the problem you have described, a sensitive, counseling psychological conversation between teachers and learners would be more productive. Why do you still hold on to denominational teaching so much when, in your opinion, it must also meet the requirements of religious studies?

There is another level of denominational religious education that should not be neglected, and that is its legal rationale. There are historical and institutional reasons for the fact that denominational religious education is set up in a large part of the German federal states, in contrast to federal states such as Bremen and many European countries. It is certainly very important that religious instruction in Germany, unlike other school subjects, is protected by the Basic Law. Article 7, Paragraph 3 states: “Religious instruction is a regular subject in public schools, with the exception of non-denominational schools. Without prejudice to state supervisory law, religious education is given in accordance with the principles of the religious communities. ”It is not easy to clarify what“ in accordance with the principles of the religious communities ”means. In general, however, the legal text is interpreted in such a way that religious instruction is to be given in denominational form. In certain federal states, the so-called "Bremen clause" still applies, in the Basic Law Art. 141: "Article 7, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 does not apply in a state in which another state law regulation existed on January 1, 1949." Because of this clause, Bremen offer other forms of religious instruction in schools; it is somewhat more controversial in the case of Brandenburg, for example. There are therefore very different legal requirements for religious education within Germany and compared to other European countries. For the discussion about denominational religious instruction, this means that more and more thought must be given to what “denominational religious instruction” can and must mean in a pluralistic society. The organizational framework (denominational or otherwise) in which religious education takes place from state to state is mainly determined by the Basic Law. Whether you like it or not, this must be taken into account when thinking about forms of interreligious learning in religious education in schools.

At the moment I do not see that this constitutional basis will change quickly - it would also require an amendment to the Basic Law with a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag. That is of course to be lamented. However, I consider it more expedient to temporarily accept the current regulatory reality of federally influenced religious education as it is and to look for possibilities for change within the current regulatory framework. Spivak came up with the term “strategic essentialism” for such an approach. The current orders of religious education, like all social orders, can be deconstructed, but they are still social at the moment powerful - which is to be accepted as a finding first. The goal, however, is not to stop at this essentialization, but rather within an order in future orders to think outto achieve such a change in order. But this is what happens within of the current orders and not outside. Moving outside of the social, even constitutional, order simply does not seem possible. In this way I would like to achieve two things: On the one hand, I do not want to open up utopian discussions that currently hardly show any possibilities of realization. On the other hand, I don't want to make the situation clearer than it is. There is not only the possibility of denominational religious education or not.

The discussion about denominational religious education binds many energies. At the same time, there are very exciting studies from Schleswig-Holstein. In a model project there, Protestant religious instruction is also open to children and young people of other religions.12 The studies clearly show how much “religious diversity” there is now under the umbrella term of denominational religious education in Germany.

What does this pluralization and opening mean for denominational religious education?

As for Christian denominational religious education, it can be said that it has undergone a long development since its inception as instructional teaching. It has more interreligious elements than it initially seems and is gradually opening up to people who are not religiously identified.A positional shift in so-called denominational teaching has already taken place today. However, this does not mean that the content is completely arbitrary. For example, the Christian resurrection belief will play an important role in Protestant and Catholic teaching. However, trying to convince learners of this belief is rejected. This means that religious education opens up a space to position oneself in the opposite or in a different way to this belief. This is no longer so far removed from religious studies.

Another sensitive issue is gender and sexuality teaching. Large surveys among Catholics show how far they locate their own relationship life outside of the Catholic sexual norm (see Lisi Maier in conversation with Britta Bürger: Young Catholics also want sex before marriage, Deutschlandfunk, 2014). Here, too, a certain denominational tension can be observed. If a teacher feels a discrepancy with Catholic doctrine, and perhaps even more so the young learners she teaches, this will have consequences for the course of the lesson.

But I don't want to harmonize the overall situation: The beginning of our interview clearly shows that there are structures in religious education that encourage othering. Changing these is not always as easy as it might seem at first.

With this in mind, I think two things are very important: First, that more about the concrete content which are in the curricula and textbooks, and that religious education in the future, as far as possible, will take a more sovereign position vis-à-vis the institutional leadership of the respective religious community. It is not the question of denominational or not, but the specific content that is taught that determines the form of religious instruction. If, for example, one wishes to take greater account of post-colonial criticism, points of contact can also be found in today's theologies.13

And secondly: what actually takes place in the religious instruction framework for a lesson depends in particular on the Reflection by the individual teacher from. I therefore consider teacher training to be one of the most important elements of sustainable religious education. It is essential to have the ability to reflect on the existing systems that determine the position of the lesson. Positions of the religious community, as well as positions of individual religiosity, milieu-related and cultural factors, but also institutional and organizational factors of teaching. If religious education has a clearly identifiable profile that facilitates such reflection, it does not have to be a disadvantage. One thing is certain, however, whatever the religion class looks like in the end, it will never be a “neutral” religion class.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Interview conducted by Alexander Graeff.

1 In the following mainly: Gruber, Bernhard (ed.): Shaping life. Teaching work for Catholic religious instruction at grammar school. 7th grade. Auer: Donauwörth 2007. Hilger, Georg / Reil, Elisabeth (ed.): Reli 7th textbook for Catholic religious teaching at secondary schools in grades 5 - 10. Kösel: Munich 1999. Mendl, Hans / Schiefer Ferrari, Markus (ed.) : Networked religion 7th teaching book for Catholic religious teaching at grammar schools. Kösel: Munich 2005.

2 Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (ed.): No chance of belonging? School books from European countries keep Islam and modern Europe separate. Results of a study by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research on current representations of Islam and Muslims in textbooks from European countries. Braunschweig 2011.

3 For example Sajak, Clauß Peter: Interreligious Learning in Religious Education in Schools. In: Rethinking Religious Education. Innovative approaches and perspectives in religious didactics. A work book. Edited by Bernhard Grümme, Hartmut Lenhard and Manfred L. Pirner. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer 2012 (practical theology, religious education, diakonia). Pp. 223-233, p. 223.

4 Nipkow, Karl Ernst: The world religions in religious instruction in upper school. In: The Evangelical Educator: Journal for Pedagogy and Theology 13 (1961). Pp. 150-162.

5 Castro Varela, María do Mar and Nikita Dhawan: Postcolonial Theory. A critical introduction. 2nd edition Bielefeld: Transcript 2015 (Cultural studies vol. 36), p. 208.

6 Spivak: Other Asias [Oxford: Blackwell 2008], p. 11.

7 Castro Varela, María do Mar and N. Dhawan: Postcolonial Theory, p. 145.

8 See Kenngott, Eva-Maria, Rudolf Englert and Thorsten Knauth (eds.): Denominational - interreligious - religious studies. Lesson models in discussion. 1st edition Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 2015 (practical theology today 136); Lindner, Konstantin, Mirjam Schambeck et al. (Ed.): Sustainable religious instruction. Confessional - cooperative - contextual. Freiburg, Basel, Vienna: Herder 2017.

9 Cf. Yilmaz, Burcu: Denomination and Cooperation in Islamic Religious Education. In: Cooperation in Religious Education. Chances and Limits of Interreligious Learning. Contributions from a Protestant, Catholic and Islamic perspective. Edited by Rainer Möller, Clauß Peter Sajak and Mouhanad Khorchide. 1st edition. Münster, Westf: Comenius-Inst 2017. pp. 133-145.

10 Cf. Pohl-Patalong, Uta, Johannes Woyke and others: Denominational religious instruction in religious diversity. An empirical study on Protestant religious instruction in Schleswig-Holstein. 1st edition Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer 2016; Pohl-Patalong, Uta, Stefanie Boll and others: Denominational religious instruction in religious diversity II. Perspectives from pupils. 1st edition Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer 2017.

11 Cf. Emcke, Carolin: Collective identities: socio-philosophical foundations. Frankfurt: Campus-Verl., 2000. Or Jullien, Francois: There is no such thing as a cultural identity: we defend the resources of a culture. Berlin: Suhrkamp, ​​2017.

12 Pohl-Patalong, Uta, Johannes Woyke and others: Denominational religious instruction in religious diversity. An empirical study on Protestant religious instruction in Schleswig-Holstein. 1st edition Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer 2016; Pohl-Patalong, Uta, Stefanie Boll and others: Denominational religious instruction in religious diversity II. Perspectives from pupils. 1st edition Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer 2017.

13 Nehring, Andreas and Simon Tielesch (eds.): Postcolonial Theologies. Biblical hermeneutic and cultural studies contributions. 1st edition s.l .: Kohlhammer Verlag 2013; Nehring, Andreas and Simon Wiesgickl (eds.): Postcolonial Theologies II. Perspectives from the German-speaking area. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer Verlag 2017.

Representation of Islam, denomination, othering, postcolonialism, religious studies, religious instruction.