The Minister of Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) aims to facilitate the expulsion and deportation of religious extremists living in Germany. Salafists and fundamental Muslims would threaten the peaceful coexistence.
The Minister proposes to expand the the law of expulsion, deporting foreigners who have been using “violence to achieve their religious goals”, or have “called for violence or threatened to use it”. So far, this law legitimizes the expulsion and deportation of foreigner with the ambition to use violence for “political goals”.
Also, the Minister proposed to to tighten the law in deporting foreigners who have been convicted and sentenced for one year imprisonment. The law of expulsion legitimizes the deportation of foreigners in case of three years imprisonment.
The proposals are not expected to be implemented as they do not apply to EU immigrants, unless they construct a “imminent threat for society”, and foreigners living in Germany over five years. However the proposals are interpreted to be tactically motivated. This September, the German Federal parliamentary elections will take place and the Minister is expected to motivate the conservative voter base.
The German Federal Office for Criminal Investigation has found a DNA track belonging to the Salafi Marco G. He has been suspected for planning and executing a bomb attempt at the central station of the city of Bonn in Fall 2012. However the attempt failed. There is little information about the 25 years old Marco G. who comes from Oldenburg, a small city in North Germany. It is said that Marco G. converted to Islam a few years ago and speaks perfectly Arabic.
After controversial debates about religious motivated circumcision, the German Federal Parliament approves circumcision. The circumcision must be executed by trained persons and must fulfill health and medical regulations.
A prior draft attempted to legalize the circumcision of boys with the minimum age of 14.
However, the majority of the parliament did not approve it.
Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) welcomed the decision of the Federal Parliament: “For decades, parents have not been penalized when accessing professional means to circumcise their sons.” Circumcision would remain legal.
Head of the party in parliament, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) criticized the decision of the district court in Cologne, which had forbidden circumcision, as an alienating act for the Jewish community. Minister of Justice in Berlins, Thomas Heilmann (CDU) interpreted the law as a welcoming signal for Muslims and Jews.
Three young Jewish and Muslims have addressed the German Federal government with an appeal relative to the proposal of circumcision ban. “Jews and Muslims should not be forced to leave a free democratic country in order to follow their religion”, it was said. Even secular Jews such as the lawyer Sergey Lagodinsky who comes from the former Soviet Union and works for the Boell foundation describe the debate led by some commentators and members of the Green party as “arrogant and short sighted”.
Muslim associations such as the Central council for Muslims in Germany and the Council for Coordination for Muslims in Germany (KRM) have criticized the comments of German Federal president Joachim Gauck about Muslim and the belonging of Islam to Germany. President Gauck took repeatedly distance from the declaration of his predecessor Christian Wulff (CDU), who pointed at Islam as an integral part of Germany.
In an interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Gauck has said to accept Muslims as part of Germany but denied the statement of his predecessor about Islam being part of German society.
The Council for Coordination has declared his statement as irritating and disturbing. The chairman of the Turkish community Kenan Kolat has invited president Gauck to a revision of books on European history, while rejecting an ideological debate.
On January 16th, German Federal Education Minister Annette Schavan officially opened Germany’s first Centre of Islamic Theology at the University of Tübingen. The centre in Tübingen is the first of four planned Islamic study centres throughout the country, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a total sum of around 20 million Euros (as reported earlier). During the opening ceremony, Annette Schavan said the centre was a “milestone for integration” of Germany’s approximately 4.3 million Muslims. And indeed, the plans to establish Islamic study centres and introduce study programmes in Islamic theology are part of a modern integration policy. The centre will mainly function to train imams and teachers for Islamic studies; so far, most imams currently in Germany are from Turkey and many of them do not speak German.
On Friday, the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) arrested three suspected members of the Islamist terrorist network al-Qaeda in North Rhine-Westphalia. The three young men (with Moroccan and Iranian origins) have allegedly been involved in planning a major terrorist attack within Germany. Following several months of surveillance by the German BKA but also international intelligence services, it is now believed that the three young men were planning on testing their self-made explosives in the near future. Various German news media have drawn comparisons to the arrest of four Islamists (known as the Sauerland group) on suspicion of planning a bomb attack in Germany in 2007.
Following the arrest, Germany’s Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, while relieved that an imminent terrorist threat to Germany had been averted, argued that Germany remained a target for international terror networks.
12 October 2010
Politicians too show a weakness for the periodic departure from reality, particularly when there are votes to be gained — and, as recent experience has shown in Germany, particularly when the subject is the integration of Muslim immigrants. The most recent example was provided by Horst Seehofer, who is not only governor of Bavaria, Germany’s most economically powerful state, but is also the head of the Christian Social Union, a party which is tightly allied with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union (CDU) and has three ministers in her cabinet.
“It is clear that immigrants from other cultures such as Turkey and Arabic countries have more difficulties (with integration),” Seehofer intoned in an interview with the newsmagazine Focus published on Monday. “From that I draw the conclusion that we don’t need additional immigration from other cultures.” The statement, predictably, drew all manner of protests from Germany’s opposition, particularly from the center-left Social Democrats and from the Green Party.
As it happens, there is no Muslim immigration to Germany to speak of. In 2009, a total of 721,000 foreigners immigrated to Germany according to the German Federal Statistical Office — and 734,000 moved away. Of those who arrived, a mere 30,000 were from Turkey, roughly equal to the average number of people of Turkish origin who have left Germany annually in recent years. The rest of the Top Five source countries for immigrants to Germany were Poland, Romania, the United States and Bulgaria, hardly countries known for their outsized Muslim populations.
Muslims in Germany form a potential voting block that cannot to be ignored. According to a study by the Islam Conference last June, the total number of Muslims in Germany lies between 3.8 and 4.3 million, of which 1.84 million hold a German passport. The German Federal Statistics Office conservatively estimates that some 750,000 Muslims are eligible to vote in the country.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) would probably have mixed feelings when glancing at the results of this poll. The Social Democrats are in first place with 35.5 percent of the vote, but only two years ago, 52 percent of Muslims were willing to cast their ballots for the SPD. The party has primarily lost ground to non-voters. The Greens have increased their support by 3.6 percent to a current level of 18 percent. This is a clear result of choosing Cem Özdemir as their leader. The Left Party and FDP don’t even make it to 5 percent, the cut-off threshold for seats in the German Bundestag. The same holds true of the CDU, which only garnered 4 percent support.
A Turkish minister underlined on Monday the importance of language in social integration. Turkey’s State Minister Mustafa Said Yazicioglu said that learning a language was important. “We are all aware of importance of learning a language, however it will be more beneficial if people learn a language in the country it is spoken,” Yazicioglu told a press conference in the German capital of Berlin. Yazicioglu earlier met German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Maria Bohmer, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration. The Turkish minister said that Turkey wanted its citizens living in Germany to be active in the society, and therefore was encouraging them to learn German. Yazicioglu said that particularly Turkish young people living in Germany were unemployed, and it was possible to reduce unemployment among those people by learning German and having an occupation. Yazicioglu said that the Religious Affairs Turkish Islam Association was exerting efforts to be taken as an interlocutor in teaching of religion in Germany.
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