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West of MeccaRTÉ One, Monday 11.40pm

Episode Three

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This week we go to Germany, where there is a Muslim population of about 4%.  Here we meet Dr. Lale Akgün and Pierre Vogel.

Dr. Lale Akgün, 54, is a member of the Federal Parliament of Germany since 2002 and is one of the four Muslim MPs out of 614.  She came to Germany at the age of nine and entered university at the age of 19. With university degrees in medicine and psychology, she worked as an adviser for family and youth in Cologne and later as director of Germany unique centre for migration. A German citizen since 1981, Dr. Akgün now represents the Social Democratic Party in parliament and argues for a full integration of Muslim migrants.  On the one hand she demands fair conditions for Muslim people in school and economy and on the other hand she pushes Muslims to decide what is religiously fundamental and what are only "boys' games".  She has been named a traitor and often receives anonymous threats, but she does not fear the in-fight especially with Muslim organisations that claim to represent all Muslims.

Pierre Vogel, 29, was born in the provincial town of Frechen and baptised as an Evangelical Christian. He was always interested in religion and good in sports, so he became a first class boxer. At the age of 22 he got a professional contract and boxed undefeated in seven bouts.  In the year 2002 after turning Muslim, he gave up on his boxing career.  The turning point for Pierre was when he heard a Christian Fundamentalist arguing against Islam. After that he had read the Koran and converted.  Since then Pierre has worked for the Islam mission in Germany and calls himself an Islam preacher. He travels every weekend to teach in mosques, universities and even Christian congregations.  To "avoid lewdness" he asked friends in 2003 to "choose a wife" for him.  He married a woman from Morocco and is now a father to two children. Between the years 2004 and 2005 Pierre stayed in Mecca, where he studied the Koran and Islam. He hopes to be able to continue these studies in the future.  In this week's West of Mecca we see Pierre Vogel teaching, visiting his grandmother and his parents, and during boxing training.

West of Mecca