Posted by Amtul Q Farhat
Three German states, Hamburg and Hesse and Bremen have recognized Muslim groups as official religious bodies, paving the way for Muslims to offer their own religion classes in schools and win a wider recognition in the European country.
Under the contact, Muslim holidays as `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha will be recognized as official vacations.
Purlu described the signed contact with the state of Bremen as a “day of joy”.
The Bremen contact followed similar documents that recognize Muslim organizations in Hamburg and Hesse.
The official recognition of Muslim groups as religious bodies allows them the right to minister to Muslims in prisons, hospitals and other public institutions.
Muslims are allowed – within certain legal constraints – to build mosques and bury their dead by their own religious rites.
The contracts are a milestone in the relationship between German states and Muslim associations.
Muslim groups like the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) and the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers (VIKZ) have long campaigned for recognition as religious bodies.
Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Muslims hail the contacts as a major breakthrough that gives new freedoms to the minority.
For instance, Muslim religious holidays are now recognized as official vacations.
“It is no longer decided at the discretion of the authorities or the schools or the employers,” Purlu said.
“Muslims now have a legal right to a holiday.”