Hamburg, Germany makes major concessions with its Muslim community

In a major political decision Hamburg, Germany is yielding important concessions to its Muslim communities, including teaching Islam in public schools.

HAMBURGNovember 25, 2012 ― Concern about the spread of Islamization in a number of European countries has increased dramatically in recent years. The Islamization process may have passed the point of no return, however. On November 13, Hamburg ― Germany’s second largest city ― reached an historic agreement with its Muslim communities.

According to a report filed at by Soeren Kern, a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute, Hamburg’s mayor and the leaders of four Muslim groups have reached an agreement granting Muslims far-reaching rights and privileges, with virtually no compromise to integrate them into German society.

The most distressing aspect of the agreement, and certainly the most controversial, centers around the city’s agreement to include Islam as part of the public school curriculum.

That aspect of the accord is, by itself, contentious enough, but details of the pact dictate that only Muslim officials can decide who will be allowed to teach the courses. By default that means that only Muslims will be instructors, which also means students will have no opportunity to learn opposing points of view regarding the religious, social and political ideologies of Islam.

Basic fundamentals of Islam do not allow separation of church and state. The faith is an all encompassing way of life which is a key factor in the nearly impossible task of finding common ground with Western values and societies.

With 200,000 Muslims currently living in Hamburg, the influence of Islam is undergoing a significant rise in the city. Hamburg was a major base for the group of radical Islamists who led the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Rather than integrating Muslims into Hamburg society, most critics fear the new arrangement will establish a parallel community that will eventually morph into an isolated society with little interest in mutual interaction.

Other aspects of the newly announced program include building more mosques, three approved state holidays for Muslim workers, special counseling for Muslim prisoners and burial rites that adhere to Islamic tradition.

For Muslims, the biggest concession in the agreement states that they will respect fundamental rights and support equality between the sexes, but there are no specifics in the document which provide any details about enforcement of those rules.

A Cologne-based organization comprised of former Muslims who have been sentenced to death for apostasy (leaving the religion) is one of the most vocal groups among the opposition. The Central Council of Ex-Muslims called the agreement a “black day” for Germany.

A statement issued by Chairperson Mina Ahadi said, “The city of Hamburg has bowed to the pressure of Islamic organizations and has made concessions that are a step backwards and do not improve the rights of women.”

On the other hand, Hamburg Mayor Scholz, a former federal labor minister of the Social Democrats (SPD), described the signing at the city hall as a “milestone” for integration. Other communities in Germany, including Bremen and the states of Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein, are looking at similar treaties with Muslims.

Ultimately the goal of the SPD is to see Islam recognized as an official religion in Germany. Dieter Wiefelspütz, an SPD official, said in an interview with German newspaper Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung, “It would be an important signal to the four million Muslims in Germany, if the state recognizes Islam as a religious community. Islam needs a fair chance in Germany.”

In the end it all boils down to politics. When German elections take place in the latter part of 2013, the Social Democrats hope to oust Chancellor Angela Merkel. By making concessions to Muslims, they hope to win a huge new voting block that could make the difference.

If we have learned anything from history however, it is that appeasement can also make a difference, and no one should know that better than Germany.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.





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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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