Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Fear and Loathing of Islam in Germany

This report of what amounts to state-sponsored religious discrimination in Germany really stinks.

The government in Germany's biggest state, Bavaria, has prepared a draft law to ban Muslim teachers from wearing headscarves in schools.

A Bavarian cabinet minister said the aim was to protect school pupils against fundamentalist influences.

The bill is expected to be passed next year in the regional parliament, which is dominated by the Christian Social Union (CSU) party.

Bavaria, after Baden-Wuerttemberg, is the second state to propose a ban.

Bavarian Education Minister Monika Hohlmeier said the headscarf was increasingly used as a political symbol.

"With this law, we are defending pupils against a potential fundamentalist influence and are respecting the wishes of the majority of parents," she said.

Christian and Jewish symbols are not included in the ban.

Ms Hohlmeier said these symbols reflected cultural values
(emphasis added).

Ms. Hohlmeier's excuse for singling out Islam is as ridiculous as they come. This anti-Islamic tendency isn't limited to Germany either, as there are moves afoot in France to initiate similar policies, only on a nationwide scale. Haven't Europeans learnt anything from the history of the 20th century? It is a statement of fact that there really is a clash between certain tenets of Islam and the cultural values of today's western Europe, but I see no need to go in for this sort of ham-fisted approach in dealing with something of so little consequence in the larger scheme of things. If some women want to wear headscarves on the job, why is this some sort of threat to German culture?