German city to recognize Islamic holidays

Authorities in Hamburg have become the first in Germany to officially recognize Islamic holidays so Muslim employees and students can celebrate them at home.

The decision forms part of an agreement between the north German city and local Muslim groups. Similar agreements exist with Christian and Jewish communities in the city.

Hamburg’s mayor, Olaf Scholz, said Tuesday that he hopes the deal will serve as an example for other German cities.

Authorities estimate some 150,000 Muslims live the city of almost 2 million people.

The growing public presence of Islamic culture in Germany has sparked anger among conservatives and far-right groups.

Police in Berlin are on alert for possible violence this weekend after a small far-right party said it plans to stage protests outside mosques in the German capital.

Associated Press, 14 August 2012

See also Spiegel Online, 15 August 2012