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The Federal Republic of Germany is a democracy. It is no fun, however, to be a Baptist in Germany. For the past two decades, the German authorities have been clamping down on Baptists who want to raise their children in accordance with their own religious principles. In Germany, the state rather than the parents is considered to be primarily responsible for the well-being of children. Hence, the draconic measures taken against Baptists. When, however, it comes to meeting the demands of Muslim the German state is far more lenient.
In 1938, Germany outlawed homeschooling. The ban is one of the few bills introduced by Adolf Hitler that is still on the books in Germany today. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of ethnic German families from Southern Russia and Kazakhstan emigrated to Germany. Many of them were Baptists who had been fiercely persecuted in the Soviet Union for their religious beliefs.
Following their arrival in the West, the Baptists soon became unhappy with what their children were learning in the secular German public schools. They decided to homeschool their children. This move led to fierce repression by the German authorities who took the parents to court on charges of Hochverrat und Volksverhetzung (high treason and incitement of the people against the authorities). Some parents were imprisoned, some were robbed of their parental authority, some had their children taken away from them. Some children who sided with their parents, such as 16-year old Melissa Busekros in 2007, were placed in a psychiatric ward because, as the psychiatric evaluation report stated, she "considers herself healthy and her behavior fully normal" and, hence, needed "urgent help in a closed setting" where she would get "special education treatment to ensure schooling." Some families, having fled from the Soviet Union at one time, fled again, from the Federal Republic of Germany to Austria, Britain, or other countries with a more lenient approach to homeschooling. Some parent, however, complied with 'Hitler's law' and reluctantly sent their children to school.
Two years ago, a Baptist couple from Eastern Westphalia kept their two sons, then 9- and 8-years old, home from school on two specific days, namely when the school was going to take them to a sex-education theatre play called Mein Körper gehört mir (My Body Belongs to Me) and when the school was having a carnival party. The authorities immediately clamped down on the parents and took them to court. Following two convictions of the couple, the case made its way up to the Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, the highest court in the land, which last week also convicted them.
On 11 August, Germany's Supreme Court ruled that "the religious conviction of a minority" is subordinated to "a contradictory tradition of a differently inclined majority," even when the latter tradition is incompatible with the religious principles of the minority. The Court sentenced the parents to a fine of 80 euros because on two occasions they had violated their legal obligation to have their children attend school. The Court stated that the right of religious freedom of the parents does not take precedence over article 7, par. 1 of the German Constitution which explicitly states that "The entire education system is under the supervision of the state." The Court declared that "Consequently, the paternal right to raise children is restricted, in a constitutionally permissible way, by the concretization of the state's obligation to ensure a universal duty to compulsive school attendance."
The relentlessness with which the German authorities consistently clamp down on Baptists who want to raise their children according to their own Christian beliefs, contrasts strongly with the leniency of the same authorities towards Muslims. While forcing 8-year olds to attend plays such as "My Body Belongs to Me" can only be considered a fairly recent "tradition" of the Germans, eating sausages and other types of pork definitely is an old German tradition. Nevertheless, in the past years, several public German schools have removed the traditional pork dishes from their menus. Last year the Käthe-Kollwitz-Schule in Minden announced that it was introducing halal food for everyone "to ensure that also Muslim children can have lunch at school." Though the measure was clearly taken with regard to "the religious convictions of a minority" and went against the "contradictory tradition of a differently inclined majority," the German authorities did not clamp down on the school, nor on the parents who had been demanding halal lunches for their kids.
While Baptist children are being forced to attend carnival parties at school, a 1993 German court ruling stated that "as long as separate sports classes for boys and girls are not being offered" Muslim girls do not have to participate in the obligatory sports sessions at school. The parents of the girls had explicitly invoked Koranic prescriptions to object to their daughters participating in the co-ed sports classes. Strangely enough, the German school authorities did not appeal the 1993 court ruling and failed to bring the case to the Supreme Court. Instead, they accepted the ruling, which has since become a legal precedent accepted by all school authorities.
Likewise, last May a court in Münster ruled that, though Muslim schoolgirls are obliged to participate in school swimming lessons, they are allowed to wear so-called "burqini" swimsuits that cover their entire body and hide their figures. Wearing the burqini has never been a "tradition" of the majority in Germany a country with a long tradition of Freikörperkultur or nude sports activities. On the contrary, it is a practice which results from "the religious convictions of a minority" which is less indigenous to Germany than Christian Baptists. Nevertheless, the German school authorities have accepted the Munster ruling. They have not taken the case to the Supreme Court in order to have Muslim children forced to swim in regular swimsuits. Muslim children do not have to comply with the "contradictory tradition of a differently inclined majority" in the same way as Baptist children, whose parents are fined if they do not attend the school carnival.
The difference in treatment of the so-called fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims by the German secular school authorities and courts gives rise to the suspicion that in contemporary Europe some religious minorities are "more equal" than others. While Christians are prosecuted and fined, Muslims are appeased. It makes one wonder if the school authorities would also have prosecuted if, instead of the sons of a Baptist couple, the 8- and 9-years old daughters of a Muslim couple had been kept from school on the day of the sex-ed school play?
The answer to this question is probably "No." Baptists are a peaceful minority, who want to be left alone and live according to their own values without trying to impose these values on others. Muslim fundamentalists are aggressive and demand that everyone live according to their values. Saying "No" to Baptist demands is not a security risk for a school; saying "No" to Muslim demands is. The German school authorities are well aware of this. Three years ago, the teachers of the Rütli-Hauptschule in the Berlin borough of Neukölln, asked the authorities to close down their school in order to protect them and the native German students who suffered threats and physical violence by Muslim students. Following the appeal of the staff at Rütli College several other schools in Berlin and other German cities complained that they were facing similar problems.
Meanwhile, despite the Baptists' hatred of German schools, Baptist violence against German school authorities is a non-existing phenomenon. Perhaps this explains why Baptists are bullied, prosecuted and fined by the German authorities, while the same authorities grovel to Muslims with ludicrous demands such as burqini swimsuits. On the other hand, if anyone ever opposes Muslim thugs who want to impose Islamic law on others, it will more likely be the Baptists, who non-violently but firmly will defend their own values, than the representatives of the German secularist establishment.
Editor's Note: This next is a letter submitted by a Muslim from the London School of Islamics Trust. The letters that follow are effective retorts.
Education of Bilingual Muslim Children
The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos.Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parents that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response.
State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.
Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not multiculturalism. In Sydney, Muslims were refused to build a Muslim school, because of a protest by the residents. Yet a year later, permission was given for the building of a Catholic school and no protests from the residents. This clrearly shows the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and racism. Christians oppose Muslim schools in western countries yet build their own religious schools.
British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "***" by Prince Harry has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His protrait is still in one of the royal places.
There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
Muslim Duplicity, Again
Mr. Iftikhar's timely comment perfectly illustrates the duplicity of both liberals and Muslims under the multicultural regime. In the name of equality and universalism, Europeans are asked to welcome the establishment of a hostile, exclusionary, alien culture on their territory, and to surrender and reject their own culture, with its very substantial advantages to themselves. The factual background that Mr. Iftikhar describes is evidence that Muslims do not belong in Western countries and that Islam is incompatible with Western culture, not that Westerners are failing to realize their high ideals. The solution to the educational and cultural problems Mr. Iftikhar describes is simple. Muslims should live in Muslim countries. They should go home. If they don't want to go home, they should convert to Christianity and attempt to assimilate as best they can, though they will remain foreigners for a long time.
I believe Mr. Iftikhar agrees that Muslims should live in Muslim countries, but his idea is that Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, the U.S.A., and Australia must become Muslim countries. Deo volente, we will disappoint him!
ikhar's relentless Da'wa...
I see you're now infesting this blog with your Islamist hate too.
If British schooling does not adequately meet the need of Muslim parents - what do you think they should do about it?
"British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades."
More 'Blame whitey' victimology. If Britain is so racist, why are there so many Muslims living there?
You talk out of your backside as usual.
Bilingualism and Germans
No doubt, you and your 'kind' have already achieved great success in the proces of 'Lebanonisation' and Balkanisation of Britain. In doing so you have been greatly aided by the naive-leftism of the Western Academy' (and thus by media and by leftist politicians). Your professed adherence to "multiculturalism" can at best be tactical, in as much as it helps to prevent integration/assimilation of newcomers. Lucky for you, the native multiculturalists are too naive to understand that.
On the matter of "bilingualism" you are factually wrong. The USA haD succesfully been integrating people from all over the world for many generations without any significant formal assist from 'bilingual teachers'. It is only since naive-leftism took over in the social sciences and humanities after the 1960's and 1970's, that bilingual education became popular in various US states and the results are showing: less integration and more cultural balkanisation. Which is, of course, precisely what you are seeking...
Your last sentence ("There is no place....") is very telling, and ideally should be taken as a clear warning to all naive-lefties in the West. Whether they will see it that way, is another matter. For me, however, it is clear. Your perception of a 'good' Muslim education is an education which 'locks up' the mind of the child (future adult), installs an orthodoxy and prevents questioning of that worldview. That is a recipe for cultural stagnation and for political tyranny. Empirical observation of the realities in the Muslim world confirms that judgement.
Perhaps Germans in general have a stronger cultural need for 'conformity' than many others? This would not seem too problematic if the country's political and educational 'elite' would have a clear purpose and understanding of Western 'liberal' values. But, if the same elite turns relativistic, as it has clearly done in recent decades, then 'conformity' can become very destructive and illiberal. In this case it has led to choosing 'the path of least resistance', punishing the weak and appeasing the 'strong'. I agree with you that appeasement will only "delay the collapse of co-existence". It almost certainly will ensure that that particular collapse will occur.
Thomas Landen is editor of The Brussels Journal
This appeared August 14, 2009 in the Brussels Journal, which features articles on Belgium and European Union politics.
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