Church plans to establish kindergarten for Muslims

The Protestant church in Mannheim has announced plans for building an “integration kindergarten” to accommodate Muslim children. The plans are a reaction to an envisioned Turkish kindergarten that would be run by DITIB, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs in Germany. It is a controversial project for fears of isolation instead of integration, and is also being criticised by Turkish parents. The church’s initiative is an attempt to show “true concern with the issue of integration” and a Muslim partner would accompany the planning process, the Protestant dean Günter Eitenmüller said.

First Islamic bank to be established in Germany

Opportunities will increase for German Muslims to invest their money in a “halal” way. So far, Islamic banking is not available in Germany, although well established in the UK, where there is a smaller Muslim population. Now the banking supervision Bakin recently organized a conference on Islamic banking, and the first licence has been given out to an Islamic bank in Mannheim that will open in January.

Christian-Democrat local politician Reinhard Löffler praises the initiative. A believing Christian, he considers Islamic banking a potential third way between capitalism and socialism. The “ethical dilapidation” of the current banking system calls for innovative solutions.

Shari’a banking comes to Germany

Germany’s Muslims are finally getting a bank offering financial products that comply with Shari’a law. It is a market worth billions, and one that many major banks around the world have long discovered.

There are four million Muslims living in Germany. They eat, drink and pray in accordance with the precepts of the Prophet Muhammad. But when it comes to monetary transactions, the principles of the Koran have played hardly any role in Germany. That is about to change.

Early next year, the first Islamic bank in Germany to offer products that are in compliance with Shari’a law will open its doors. The bank, Kuveyt Türk Beteiligungsbank, will open a branch in the downtown area of Mannheim, a city in western Germany, and branches in other cities are also planned.

The regulators with Germany’s Federal Financial Services Authority, known as BaFin, recently issued a limited license to the subsidiary of a Turkish-Kuwaiti bank. It is only permitted to collect funds that are transferred to accounts in Turkey that conform to Islamic rules.

German mosques open their doors

Hundreds of mosques throughout Germany opened their doors to the general public on Friday, allowing people from other faiths to get first-hand information about Islam, organizers said.
More than 50,000 visitors took advantage of the 12th ‘Day of Open Mosques’ to explore the houses of worship and pose questions about Islam, according to the Coordination Council of Muslims and the Turkish Muslim group DITIB. Around 2,500 mostly bigger mosques organized exhibitions, held round-table discussions on religion or briefings on integration and language courses. The annual event coincided this year with the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. A heavy rush of visitors to mosques was reported in major German cities like Cologne, Mannheim and Berlin. The planned construction of numerous mosques across Germany has sparked an Islamophobic debate aimed at fanning anti-Muslim sentiments in the media. While most Germans view positively the building of mosques, a small but vocal minority has criticized it as a “display of Muslim power.”

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Judges: German ban on head-scarves includes nuns’ veils

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.

German Court Upholds Muslim Headscarf Ban in Schools

A court has ruled that a ban on Muslim teachers wearing headscarves in schools was legal. It said that teachers who covered their heads violated their obligations to keep religious expression out of the classroom. A German court announced Tuesday it had upheld a ban on Muslim teachers wearing headscarves in schools in the state of Baden-W_rttemberg. A state administrative court of appeal in the city of Mannheim ruled teachers cannot cover their heads in the classroom — at least not if they do so for religious reasons. The court’s decision overturned an earlier ruling in 2006 by a lower court, which decided in favor of a teacher who had converted to Islam. The teacher, who had worn a headscarf since 1995, took her case to court after the school board in the state capital of Stuttgart ordered her to stop wearing a headscarf in the classroom.