Hamburg reaches out to its Muslim communities

Hamburg has become the first German state to sign formal agreements with its Muslim communities, recognizing Muslim holidays and improving religious tuition in schools. Other states are expected to follow suit.

The mayor of the city-state Olaf Scholz described the signing ceremony in Hamburg’s City Hall as a “milestone” as he and representatives of diverse Muslim associations added their signatures.

“With the signing of these agreements, we are strengthening the societal foundation of our city: we are all Hamburg,” said Scholz, who is a former federal labor minister of the opposition Social Democrats (SPD).

Deutsche Welle, 13 November 2012

Anna von Treuenfels, a spokesperson for the Free Democrats, is quoted as saying that such agreements “fundamentally contradict the liberal world view that calls for maximum possible separation of religion and churches and the state”.