Members of a UN anti-racism body have called on Germany to do more to integrate foreigners. A controversial citizenship test in one German state especially caught their attention. Members of the United Nations Committee for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Friday, Aug. 15, said that they were concerned about citizenship application questions targeted at Muslims in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. “The Committee recommends that the Federal Government encourage the use of questionnaires without discriminatory content, for all applicants for citizenship,” said the committee, according to AFP news agency. Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to car maker Daimler’s Mercedes Benz, apparently requires citizens of the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to answer specific questions when they apply for German citizenship.
A law which prohibits Muslim women teachers from wearing head-scarves in a German state’s public schools also forbids Catholic nuns from wearing their veils in regular classrooms, judges said Wednesday. The administrative tribunal of Baden-Wuerttemberg state set out the position in a detailed written judgement, two months after ruling verbally that a woman convert to Islam, aged 58 at the time, could not teach in her scarf. The south-western state has a law that bans “exterior expressions of religious confession.” Germany has been split on the scarf issue, with some states tolerating teachers in scarves and others sacking them if they refuse to teach bare-headed. The judges in the city of Mannheim interpreted the ban on religious dress as applying to all religions, whether to nuns and monks in habits or to male Jewish teachers wearing the kippa.
BERLIN – Islamic groups on Monday vowed to fight a test introduced by a German state this month for potential immigrants which they said singled out Muslims for discrimination. “We will not rest until the state government withdraws the questionnaire,” the spokesman for the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Mounir Azzaoui, said. The conservative-ruled southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg introduced the battery of questions January 1 in which candidates for immigration who are considered unlikely to integrate are asked about their personal views.