German Protestant Bishop Wants Islam Classes in All State Schools


Berlin: The head of the Protestant Church in Germany has called for Islam to be taught in state schools across the country as a way to make young Muslims impervious to the "temptation of fundamentalists".

Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm told the Heilbronner Stimme newspaper to teach Islam in schools nationwide.

Bedford-Strohm said all faiths in Germany must be compatible with the country's democratic constitution. "Tolerance, religious freedom and freedom of conscience must apply to all religions," he said in the interview published on Friday.

He said Islamic associations in Germany should be responsible for these courses and hoped they would organize themselves to be a "clear partner" for the German state.

Seven of Germany's 16 federal states offer some form of Islamic religion classes in their schools, similar to the Catholic and Protestant religion classes they have traditionally had.

Germany has about four million Muslims, about five percent of the total population.

Attitudes towards Islam have hardened following militant attacks in Europe and the arrival of more than a million migrants last year, most of them Muslims.

The influx has fueled the rise of anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which maintains that Islam violates the constitution and wants a ban on minarets and face veils.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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