Author: tj/sms (epd, KNA, AFP)
Germany needs an “Islam law” to regulate Muslim religious communities and ensure that what is being preached in mosques around the country is “transparent,” according to leading conservative politician Jens Spahn.
Spahn, a member of the executive committee of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told the Funke Media Group on Thursday that authorities “had to know what happens in mosques,” saying that Muslim sermons in German would help diminish prejudice.
He called for German tests for imams, saying that many of the preachers who delivered sermons in German mosques came from abroad, could not speak German and were paid by other countries.
“Such imported imams lead to social disintegration,” he said, noting that Catholic sermons could be understood by everyone, but not ones in Turkish or Arabic.
Spahn also demanded that mosques be registered, saying that authorities “did not know how many mosques there are in Germany, where they are or who finances them.”
A major problem, according to Spahn, was the lack of a central representative for the Muslims living in Germany. He said that the political Islamic associations with whom the German government had previously worked represented a very conservative form of Islam.
“They speak only for a minority of Muslims. They are the wrong partners,” said Spahn, a professed Catholic.
In addition, Spahn, who is also the deputy finance minister, called for the training of imams, teachers of religion and counselors to be paid for with tax money.
“That will be a hard debate, but I would rather we finance this than that the money comes from Turkey or Saudi Arabia,” he said, saying that a “church tax” for Muslims was also a possibility: “If the Muslim communities want a tax law, we should talk about it.”
Germany already collects money from members of Christian churches in the form of a so-called Church Tax, the proceeds of which are passed on to religious authorities in Germany.
The conservative politician also had some criticism for Christian churches in Germany, accusing them of being “uncritical” with regard to Islam.
“A friendly photo of fast-breaking, then each goes their own way; it can’t go on like that,” he said.