As indicated above, MSOs are almost never limited to one single responsibility, field of activity or social and societal role: "Migrant self-organizations are […] rarely specialized. Rather, they usually take a holistic, multifunctional approach" (Gaitanides 2003: 26, transl. by the author), and they are involved in very different areas.
The tasks, goals, and influences defined by the MSOs themselves or by their environment can change over time (see the articles in Pries and Sezgin 2010). They are thus by no means inflexible but rather they are dynamic.
Because migrants organize themselves into organizations, they are perceived as social actors (BMFSFJ 2011) who want to participate in such areas as social work, education, housing, health, and politics. MSOs can therefore be considered as forums for civil involvement and the creation of social capital through the social networks and the resources they provide.
This complexity of roles makes it difficult to identify any effects MSOs may have which are unambiguous and do not change over time (Müller-Hofstede 2007). The ways in which MSOs are perceived by the general public and the scholarly community also change. (Muslim) religious associations in particular have often been viewed with some skepticism since the attacks of September 11, 2001, but the political scientist Christoph Müller-Hofstede and many other experts who have done research on the issue have emphasized the considerable integration potential of MSOs and the opportunities these organizations give individuals through their services in the areas of active citizenship and integration policy, such as the provision of everyday knowledge, assistance (especially with school integration), and orientation during the immigration phase (see also Hunger 2004: 18ff.).
This text is part of the policy brief on