Germany Aiming to Become More Muslim Friendly
Gatestone Institute 7 February 2014
By Soeren Kern
Muslims attending the gathering were offended by the insinuation that Islam could be radical or violent, and demanded instead that the German government take steps to make "Islam equal to Christianity" in Germany.
They were equally unwilling to discuss the main item on the official conference agenda: "Gender Equality as a Common Value," and refused even to acknowledge that there might be any connection between Islam and forced marriage.
While focusing his energy on expanding the rights if Muslims in German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has been largely silent about the responsibility of Muslim immigrants to take measures to integrate better into German society.
Germany's new coalition government is signaling that it wants better relations with the country's Muslim community.
In a series of newspaper, television and radio interviews, Thomas de Maiziere—who was recently sworn in as Germany's new interior minister—has announced a series of pro-Muslim initiatives apparently designed to defuse escalating tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims there.
Among other policy initiatives, Maiziere says the government plans to change German immigration laws to make it easier for Muslim immigrants to obtain dual-citizenship and thus to maintain religious and cultural links to their countries of origin.
Maiziere also says he intends to give Muslims more say in setting the agenda of the government's ongoing dialogue with the Islamic umbrella groups that represent the estimated 4.5 million Muslims now living in the country.
While focusing his energy on expanding the rights of Muslims in Germany, Maiziere has been largely silent about the responsibility of Muslim immigrants to take measures to integrate better into German society.
Muslims have been quick to respond to Maiziere's multicultural concessions. They have issued a list of demands that include the official recognition of Muslim holidays in Germany, as well as the installation of Muslim clerics in German hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and military units.
Maiziere's outreach to Muslims stems from a 185-page coalition deal between Germany's two largest parties.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), won the general election on September 22, 2013, but fell short of a majority. They needed a partner and—after five weeks of negotiations—Merkel's conservatives reached an agreement with the rival Social Democrats (SPD) on a program for a new coalition government. The new "grand coalition" government was inaugurated on December 17, 2013. (continue reading...)http://europenews.dk/en/node/76846