Merkel to meet German Islamic leaders: report

5th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

5 April 2006, BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to have talks later this year with leaders of the country's 3.3 million Muslims, a report said Wednesday.

5 April 2006

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to have talks later this year with leaders of the country's 3.3 million Muslims, a report said Wednesday.

Merkel is due to invite the heads of 16 Islamic groups to the chancellery before parliament's summer recess to boost dialogue after worldwide protests over cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, said the newspaper Die Welt.

The move comes amid unprecedented calls by German teachers for the closure of a Berlin high school following massive disruptions by Arab and Turkish students.

Chancellor Merkel expressed alarm over any such move and officials agreed to keep the school open with beefed up security and additional teachers.

"We must deal with the root of the problem," said Merkel.

In a related development, the Islamic Religious Community of Berlin, published a nine-page "state treaty" it is proposing to be signed by Merkel and German Muslim leaders.

The treaty calls on Berlin to provide Muslims with places of worship in public buildings and to mandate more coverage of Islam on state-funded public TV.

Muslim community members should be given access to German public schools in order to conduct Islamic religious instruction, the treaty says.

The German government should also start paying the Muslim community about 6.1 million euros (7.4 million dollars) a year to fund activities and administrative costs, says the draft treaty.

Mainly Muslim Turks numbering about 2.5 million are Germany's biggest minority out of a total population of 82 million.

DPA

Subject: German news

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