Hamburg State signs treaty with Muslim community

August 14

After three years of negotiations with Muslim associations, the State of Hamburg has agreed to implement and recognize religious-related holidays, including school holidays, religious education and burial rituals.

Unlike Christians churches, Muslim mosques and associations are not recognized as corporations by public law. However, the State of Hamburg has stated it will guarantee three official holidays: Eid ad-Adha, Ramadan and Ashura. Muslim teachers will be allowed to teach religious education, once they have passed the state exam and given that the course is cross-confessional. It is not clear whether women wearing a headscarf will be allowed to teach.

The involved parts, other than the State of Hamburg, are: the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion (Ditib), the Council of Islamic communities (Schura), the association for Islamic Culture centers (VIKZ) and as the Alawites community of Germany. The three associations represent approximately 130 000 Muslims in Hamburg.

Daniel Adin, a Schura representative, spoke about an important step towards the institutional recogntion of Islam in Germany. Murat Pirildar (VIKZ) said that the treaty would strengthen the participation of Muslims in German society. Aziz Alsandemir, representative of the Alawite community, emphasized that the rights, which would be granted to Alawaites in Hamburg are still denied to them in Turkey. Approximately, 50 000 Alawites live in Hamburg.