Current Event 8/18/12

Hamburg is Germany's first state to guarantee Muslim and Alevi citizens a pact detailing their rights and responsibilities. There are about 130,000 Muslims in Hamburg, as well as 50,000 Alevi. If all goes as planned, they will receive religious teachings at schools, as well as holidays and funeral rituals. Negotiations have been going on for five years, initiated by previous mayor Ole von Beust. While it is the goal of the negotiators to respect Muslim and Alevi values and customs, they also are working toward acceptance of German values, such as gender equality, and reaffirming most of the parts of the German constitution.
Although the initial conversations were difficult because a negotiator was hard to find, talks have now been deemed a success, with many Muslim holidays becoming official days off, and more specific, faith-based religion classes. There is disagreement on how exclusive the religion classes would be, however, because of the traditionally interdenominational identity of Hamburg. Another issue is the construction of mosques and wearing of religious symbols by political individuals. However, the pact has been welcomed by churches in the area, and overall is seen as an excellent development for the state.


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