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2020

  • October 2020: Antisemitism in Germany

The Pharos observatory proposes an article on the difficult management of Antisemitism in Germany.

  • February 2020: Federal Constitutional Court approves headscarf ban during hearings for trainee lawyers

The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 14 January 2020, made public on 27 February 2020, validated the ban on the wearing of headscarves by trainee lawyers during hearings, deeming that such a ban was not contrary to the Basic Law.

The Federal Constitutional Court had been seized by a German-Moroccan trainee lawyer who wore a headscarf during her practical training in 2017 in Hesse, a Land where trainee lawyers of the Muslim faith may wear a headscarf in the performance of their duties, with the exception of a few specific tasks for which they are perceived as representatives of the State. In the name of the principle of religious neutrality, trainees wearing headscarves must therefore sit on benches reserved for the public in courtrooms and may not conduct hearings or give evidence. The Frankfurt Administrative Court had initially ruled in favour of the complainant, but the decision was overturned by the Hesse Administrative Court of Appeal.

The decision by the judges of Karlsruhe comes within the context of a broader debate on the wearing of headscarves in public administrations in Germany, a country where federalism gives rise to varying regulations and legislation (authorisation or prohibition of the wearing of headscarves) from one Land to the next. Generally speaking, civil servants are required to keep their faces uncovered during the performance of their duties across the Rhine, except for health or safety reasons. Several Länder prohibit religious signs for judges and prosecutors. As for female teachers, they have been allowed to wear headscarves at school since the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court on 27 January 2015. In Berlin, however, the 2005 Neutrality Law, which prohibits the wearing of any conspicuous religious signs in civil service, is still in effect to this day.

For more information: Hessenschau, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit.

  • January 2020: An imam training centre to be opened

On Thursday, 9 January 2020, the DITIB (Turkish-Islamic Union of Religious Affairs) is inaugurating a training centre for imams in Dahlem, a small town of some 4,200 inhabitants located in North Rhine-Westphalia, an initiative hailed by the Ministry of the Interior as an important step in so far as, up to this point, imams of German mosques came for in large part from abroad. Seventy students, all having earned the equivalent of the baccalaureate in Germany (Abitur), followed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic theology in Turkey, are already enrolled there for a two-year Imamate training. The German Conference on Islam estimates that there are currently almost 2,000 imams in Germany, half of them trained in Turkey, sent to Germany for a few years and paid by Turkey (Diyanet). German politicians have long called for the imams’ structural, financial and political independence from Turkey, criticising their proximity with respect to Ankara. Since 2011, centres for Islamic theology have been opened in multiple German universities, thanks to financial support from the State, in order to answer the question of training Islamic professors, but attempts to set up university courses for imamate training – particularly in Osnabrück – have so far not been successful.

For more information: Die Welt et Deutschlandfunk.

D 6 November 2020    ASylvie Toscer-Angot

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