Germany: Muslim group comes out in support of crucifixes in school
Özkan started up a political storm when she said that both crucifies and headscarves do not belong in schools. She has since apologized for her interview.
A German Muslim group weighed into Germany's debate about crucifixes on Tuesday, saying it was fine for them to hang in German school classrooms because religion ought not to retreat from the public sphere.
The Central Council of Muslims, which supports the right of devout women to display their faith by wearing a headscarf, spoke out amid a storm over the views of a secular Muslim woman who was set to be sworn in Tuesday as a regional government minister.
"Religion needs to be visible in public space. That applies to all religions," Ayyub Axel Koehler, the German-born president of the Council, told the German Press Agency dpa in an interview in Cologne.
The Central Council of Muslims is one of four national groups of mosques. It went public this month with criticism of the government for inviting too many secular Muslims to a national conference on relations between Islam and the state.
"We live in country that is thoroughly shaped by Christianity," Koehler said. "That is why religion ought to be visible here."
Speaking on an issue that has also made waves in France, Koehler said that by the same token, Muslim women should be free to wear scarves.
"If we ban religion from public spaces, then we are undermining the secular constitution. That is the nub of the issue," he said. "The state must behave neutrally towards religious communities, but is also duty bound to cooperate with them."
Source: EarthTimes (English)