New Surveillance Rules in Germany: Muslim Leaders Fear Imams Could be Targeted

Germany’s top security and law officials have agreed to a plan to enact new computer surveillance regulations. But Muslim leaders fear imams could face more scrutiny than their Christian counterparts. Top security and law officials in Germany this week established new guidelines on surveillance of computers in cases of terrorism or serious crimes. The framework, which was designed by Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch_uble of the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), allows federal security officials to monitor computers only in cases related to terrorism or other serious crimes. The new framework complies with a legal ruling made by the country’s highest court (more…) in February, and resolves a debate between conservatives and the SPD in Germany’s ruling Grand Coalition government. Anna Reimann reports.http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,548057,00.html

Merkel’s 400 Integration Promises

By Anna Reimann in Berlin As German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted on Thursday, this year’s integration summit, overshadowed by ultimatums and boycotts, didn’t go quite the way she had expected. Despite its disappointing outcome, Merkel presented a mammoth concept for improving the integration of foreigners, a plan she hopes will finally bring progress to the issue. At last year’s integration summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel practically had to drag the smiling attendees away from their photo ops. “We have a lot of work to do,” she said, as she and her enthusiastic guests rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

Justifying Marital Violence: A German Judge Cites Koran in Divorce Case

By Veit Medick and Anna Reimann He beat her and threatened her with murder. But because husband and wife were both from Morocco, a German divorce court judge saw no cause for alarm. It’s a religion thing, she argued. The case seems simply too strange to be true. A 26-year-old mother of two wanted to free herself from what had become a miserable and abusive marriage. The police had even been called to their apartment to separate the two — both of Moroccan origin — after her husband got violent in May 2006. The husband was forced to move out, but the terror continued: Even after they separated, the spurned husband threatened to kill his wife. A quick divorce seemed to be the only solution — the 26-year-old was unwilling to wait the year between separation and divorce mandated by German law. She hoped that as soon as they were no longer married, her husband would leave her alone. Her lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk agreed and she filed for immediate divorce with a Frankfurt court last October. They both felt that the domestic violence and death threats easily fulfilled the “hardship” criteria necessary for such an accelerated split. In January, though, a letter arrived from the judge adjudicating the case (…)