• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > World

Germany Debates 'Mosque Tax' to Replace Foreign Funding

  • The Khadija Mosque in Berlin October 16, 2008

    The Khadija Mosque in Berlin October 16, 2008 | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 May 2019

The debates is taking place in a context of growing Islamophobia across Europe.

Support is growing in Germany for a "mosque tax" to make Islamic institutions less dependent on so-called "radical" foreign funding sources, a media report said Sunday.

Germany Expels Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh

The conservative federal government sees it as "a possible path," according to an answer to a parliamentary query, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported.

Several of Germany's 16 states had also signalled support in principle for the idea which would mirror Germany's voluntary Christian "church tax," the newspaper said.

The country counts with an estimated five million Muslims, who hail mostly from Turkey and Arab countries.

Some 900 mosques in Germany are run by the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib), under the authority of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Its imams are paid by the Turkish state, and the group has come under scrutiny with some of its members suspected of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany.

At the height of a bitter row between Germany and Turkey in mid-2017, two German ministers warned in a Spiegel Online commentary that Erdogan's "dangerous ideologies must not be imported to Germany via certain mosques."

In other cases, some mosques have come under police scrutiny or been closed for preaching radical and militant Islamist ideas.

Welt am Sonntag said that, in the newspaper's own survey, several states had affirmed that mosque communities in Germany should be able to finance themselves.

The interior ministry of the regional state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had said it was open to "mosque financing based on the church model" to reduce foreign influence, including "the danger of possible radicalization."

"In the worst case," the spokesman had told the newspaper, this included "radical Islamist or anti-democratic content or aspirations."

The rise of an Islamophobic sentiment in Germany has fueled support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that wants to ban minarets and the burqa and has described Islam as incompatible with the German constitution.

The AfD has also tried to ban the construction of mosques and members have expressed profound anti-Islamic opinion, claiming that Germany should remain "a Christian country" while insisting they are not Islamophobic.

The AfD made it into the Bundestag for the first time on September 2017 with 12.6 percent of the federal vote.

It was created in 2013 as a nationalist anti-European Union party then took a harsh stance on immigrants during Germany's 2015 so-called "refugee crisis." Brandenburg is one of the most pro-AfD states in Germany, with 1,300 members.

Post with no comments.