Bavaria’s conservative leader Edmund Stoiber won thunderous applause in his farewell speech for saying mosques were getting too big. . “When the mosques in our cities are bigger than cathedrals and churches, then we must tell our Muslim fellow citizens: ‘No, that is going too far.’ the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said. “Church towers, not minarets, should be what you see when you look out across the state.” His remarks caused a new debate about Islam in Germany.
In the opinion of CSU boss Edmund Stoiber, social security benefits should be collected from immigrants if they do not participate in integration courses. It should also be possible to refuse them permanent residence status. Guenther Beckstein, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, expressed his position in similar terms. Ute Vogt, vice chairman of the SPD, was one of the voices in the federal government that criticised the Leitkultur approach as the basis for integrating foreigners; the Basic Law should be sufficient, he argued, as the guiding principle.
Religious beliefs and symbols must be better protected in the future, according to Edmund Stoiber, the minister-president of Bavaria. He invited Christian, Jewish and Muslim representatives, constitutional experts and journalists to the Chancellery to discuss the subject. “We need a balance between the freedom of opinion and the effective protection of religious sentiments from injury”, Stoiber said. He hopes to incorporate the effective protection of religious beliefs and symbols in the German penal code.