Greens call for German Muslim public holiday

16th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

16 November 2004 , BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Greens coalition partner called on Tuesday for establishing a Muslim public holiday in Germany as a reaction to violence in the Netherlands following the killing of Islam-critical film director Theo van Gogh. Both Germany's Greens Environment Minister, Juergen Trittin, and the deputy chairman of the Greens in parliament, Hans-Christian Stroebele were quoted in the newspaper Die Welt as backing the move. "Exactly such a sign is needed given the atta

16 November 2004

BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Greens coalition partner called on Tuesday for establishing a Muslim public holiday in Germany as a reaction to violence in the Netherlands following the killing of Islam-critical film director Theo van Gogh.

Both Germany's Greens Environment Minister, Juergen Trittin, and the deputy chairman of the Greens in parliament, Hans-Christian Stroebele were quoted in the newspaper Die Welt as backing the move.

"Exactly such a sign is needed given the attacks in Holland," said Stroebele, who like Trittin hails from the party's "fundi" left-wing.

But Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) were cool to the idea following a row earlier this month over a proposal to abolish the German Unity Day holiday in a bid to boost the economy. SPD government officials swiftly dropped the idea.

"It's well-meaning but does not fit in with our current economic situation," said Dieter Wiefelspuetz, an SPD domestic security policy expert.

Leaders of the opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) poured cold water on the idea.

"This nation has been strongly formed by Christianity," said the CDU Interior Minister of Brandenburg state, Joerg Schoenbohm, adding that such a holiday would have no meaning to the vast majority of people living in Germany.

There are about 3.4 million Muslims living in Germany out of a total population of 82 million.

Guenther Beckstein, the Bavarian interior minister, said the proposal proved the Greens could not let go of their "starry-eyed" dream of a multi-cultural society which has long since "failed".

In a related development, a Muslim preacher in Berlin issued a public apology for making strongly anti-German comments in a mosque which were secretly filmed by Germany's ZDF public TV.

"These remarks were offensive and wrong," said a letter by the preacher who has not been named by media.

The ZDF film shows the preacher at the Mevlana Mosque in Berlin's heavily Turkish Kreuzberg district saying: "These Germans, these atheists, these Europeans don't shave under their arms and their sweat collects under their hair with a revolting smell and they stink ... Hell lives for the infidels! Down with all democracies and all democrats!"

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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