German interior minister says Islam must accept female equality
Interior minister Wolfgang Schaeubel has told a newspaper that the emancipation of Islamic women is key to social cohesion in GermanyBerlin -- The German interior minister said Tuesday that the emancipation of women within Germany's Islamic communities was the key to continued social integration.
In an interview with the Berliner Tagespiegel newspaper Wolfgang Schaeubler said, "That women have the same rights is one of the things which Muslims must accept."
" Female empowerment is one of the great hopes for the development of a modern democratic society."
The minister's Christian Democratic Union party (CSU) places great emphasis on what it sees as family-based western European values, including the integration of Islam in an open and moderate form.
Islam is Germany's largest minority religion. Since the 1960s the country has experienced large scale immigration from predominantly Islamic Turkey and the avoidance of segregation is a key aim for both sides of Germany's ruling grand coalition.
In the same interview Schaeubler said that German children should be speaking German at home. At present many children from immigrant backgrounds do not encounter the national language until they start to attend kindergarten.
His comments are fuel for the ongoing debate about the status of Islam in the country. The German government is a supporter of Turkish entry to the European Union but many hardliners argue that an Islamic country has no place in Europe.