German Muslim groups rap useless official talks with government


Berlin : German Muslim organizations lambasted their government for holding official futile talks with them on improving the situation of the country’s 4.3 million Muslims, the press reported Tuesday.

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Speaking ahead of the opening of the German Islam Conference in Berlin, the head of Islamic Centers in Germany, Mustafa Imal told the Hamburg-based daily Hamburger Abendblatt that the formal talks between the government and the country’s Muslim community were merely ‘symbolic’ and had not focused on the real issues.

Muslim groups have repeatedly called for recognizing Islam as a religious community in Germany by giving Muslims the same legal rights as Christians and Jews, and seriously combating Islamophobia.

The Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims Aiman Mazyek whose organization has boycotted the talks over the past year, labeled the Islam Conference a ‘toothless tiger and debate club.’

A prominent German Islam scholar Lamya Kaddor has even called for cancelling the government talks.

Critics of the Islam Conference argue that the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel is not really addressing the concerns and demands of Muslims living in Germany.

Meanwhile, the German government has reportedly stepped up pressure on Islamic organizations to spy on the country’s Muslims.

New German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich who is in charge officially to coordinate relations with the Islamic community, has placed the issue of what he labeled ‘security partnership’ with Islamic groups on top of the agenda during his formal meeting with Muslims community representatives in Berlin.

Friedrich who made headlines by saying Islam was not part of Germany only hours after taking the oath of office as the nation’s interior minister earlier this month, reiterated in an interview with the Deutschlandfunk public radio station that this ‘security partnership’ should be prioritized in the Islam Conference.

The minister’s controversial remarks followed earlier statements by other leading German security officials who have openly urged Muslims to spy in their local mosques amid the ongoing terror hysteria in the country.