The World from Berlin: Germany’s Difficult Debate with its Muslim Community

    Germany’s ongoing talks with its Muslim community continued on Thursday. In principal, everyone agreed to broaden Islam instruction in German schools. But deep divisions remain among the country’s Muslims. It hasn’t been easy. But on Thursday evening, after another session of the two-year-old Islam Conference led by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble, government representatives and Muslim leaders announced an agreement to work toward introducing Islam instruction in German schools. Furthermore, Sch_uble expressed his support for the building of new mosques and the group likewise urged German states to change rules in order to allow Muslim burials. “We have agreed that this should be the way forward,” Sch_uble told reporters after the conference. “We are moving ahead step by step.” Still, the parties to the conference were hesitant to play up the announcement due to the difficult negotiations and at times deep divisions that have characterized the ongoing conference. On the one hand, Sch_uble’s Christian Democrats have at times made their distaste for widespread immigration clear, with Roland Koch’s recent re-election campaign in Hesse veering decidedly toward xenophobia. The recent fire in Ludwigshafen (more…), in which nine people of Turkish background died, likewise increased tensions with Germany’s immigrant community.

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