Donnerstag, November 02, 2006


the mosque

A couple of days ago I was in a mosque with a community project. The aim of the meeting was better cooperation between social work, city administration and the Muslims active in the mosque and around which largely have a Turkish origin and migrant background.
It was my first time ever in a mosque, which had funny side effects such as the unexpected taking off of my shoes (which was no problem at all, but I had no shoehorn and almost did not get back into them again).
So we sat down together discussing urgently needed social measure such as literacy courses for women, basic German courses for adults, the joint use of the youth centres Internet café (adults and unemployed on weekdays in the mornings, youth after school and weekends) and such things. We set up a pool of translators for school – parent interaction, which is difficult enough as almost no teachers speak Turkish and many parents do not yet speak sufficient German. All of these things small and hardly surprising measures and projects. But there was one thing that did surprise me. There was a strong request to install an insolvent and delinquent debtor counselling and support service. My initial thought was – clear: poor work conditions, big families – no surprise that there are debts. But the problem raised at the meeting did go beyond this. Many people who do not speak German and who are unemployed do spend a lot of their time in betting shops. Those betting shops have the lowest prices for drinks and – you do not need to understand German in order to bet – and to loose money. So there will be a network created between a creditor rights and support organisation, the diversity and integration department of the city and the mosque as interlocutor to this specific groups of debtors. As we say in Austria “druchs red’n kumman d’leit zom” vague translation: “trough talking people get together”.

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