Islamic religious education (IRE) is regulated very differently in Germany. Some states have introduced IRE as a regular subject or launched first trials in schools, whereas other states entirely lack regulation. This is puzzling, as one might consider IRE to be an effective tool for Muslim integration and a preventive measure against radicalization. In a comparative case-study design of two German states (Hessen and Baden-Württemberg), which follows a most-similar-system logic, this article shows that the historically grown relationship between the state and Christian churches in education policy is a key explanatory factor. It promotes negative moral templates toward Islam in public bureaucracies and low regulatory capacities of Muslim religious organizations, which in turn account for the backward position of Baden-Württemberg. This is one of the first studies explaining the phenomenon in Germany and integrating the research on sociological institutionalism and private governance.
Die Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft. Comparative Governance and Politics (ZfVP) ist die erste deutschsprachige Zeitschrift für zentrale Themen und innovative Forschungsergebnisse aus dem Bereich der Vergleichenden Politikwissenschaft.
Blumenthal (2012, p. 136) comes to a similar conclusion when examining veil policy and IRE regimes in German states. She emphasizes, however, that with regard to the regulation of IRE a more detailed analysis of party politics within each state would be fruitful.
When employing a more historical perspective and taking into account that both, Hessen and Baden-Württemberg, launched trials of IRE relatively late (in 2009/2010 respectively 2006/2007) compared to North-Rhine Westphalia (in 1986), the party political composition of the government gains explanatory leverage.
The behavior of actors can not be explained exclusively by the so-called “logic of appropriateness” characterizing one institution (March and Olsen 1989, p. 160 in Blumenthal 2009, p. 84), but also by value systems of other institutions they are involved in, institutional change and alternative forms of cooperation with the cultural environment.
This assumption must be handled carefully, and a promising project for future research would be a survey study among civil servants in order to capture moral or cultural traditions. Ucar (2010, p. 47) support this assumption by arguing that the anxiety and reserve of public bureaucrats hindered the recognition of Muslim organizations as religious community in many states.