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 - War On Hijab

    Anti-Hijab Party Wins Elections

    FRANKFURT, May 23, 2005 – In an unhappy outcome to German Muslims in the largest regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the conservative anti-hijab Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won state elections Sunday, May 22, triggering a decision to hold snap general election across Germany in the autumn.

    Muslim Concerns

    The CDU’s resounding victory sent shock waves among the Muslim minority in NRW, home to one of German’s 3.4 million Muslims, the biggest Muslim gathering in the country, says IOL’s correspondent.

    During the election campaign, Christian Democrats leader in NRW Juergen Ruettgers said he would swiftly ban hijab from public schools in Germany’s most populated state, with 13 million.

    The legislatures in Nordrhein-Westfalen and Reinland-Pfalz recently turned down proposals by the CDU to ban Muslim school teachers from wearing hijab.

    Germany's highest tribunal, the constitutional court, ruled in 2003 that Baden-Wuerttemberg was wrong to forbid a Muslim teacher from wearing hijab in the classroom.

    In addition to Baden-Wuerttemberg, the states of Saarland and Niedersachsen ban teachers from showing any religious or political affiliation, including hijab.

    The state of Hessen also made amendments to its school laws, banning teachers from wearing any symbols of religious or political nature while allowing them a limited right to put on Christian or western symbols.

    In Bavaria, laws were enforced in 2004 banning teachers from wearing religious symbols that are not harmonious with Christian cultural values. The state of Brandenburg made the same amendments in 2003.

    Ruettgers’s plan to ban hijab within three weeks of his election victory, despite opposition from other parties, was not the only reason for Muslims' concern.

    His anti-Muslim drive is shown in many statements he made in the run up to state elections and even before.

    Late last month, he told a German news channel that he is a Catholic who believes Christianity presented the best image of man and should therefore be leading all other religions worldwide.

    The statements drew the ire of Muslim minority leaders in the state back then.

    About one million Muslims of Germany's over three million live in the state, forming the biggest Muslim gathering in the 16-German states.

    Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity. & News Agencies
    23 May, 2005

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