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German Minister Proposes Islamic Public Holidays

BERLIN – The German Interior Minister’s suggestion to recognize Islamic holidays in the country has won the praise of the countries Muslim community, saying the move will further encourage Muslims’ integration in Germany.

Aiman Mazyek, who chairs the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, said such a move would enhance the integration of Muslim migrants, Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday, October 12.

The suggestion by the Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere during an election meeting in Lower Saxony this week.

“I am ready to discuss whether we can introduce a Muslim holiday,” de Maiziere, a senior minister from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party, said.

“In places where many Muslims live, why we don’t consider having a Muslim holiday?” he added.

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He added that Catholics or Protestants could celebrate their religious festivals in regions where they had a large population.

Mazyek told local media recognizing Islamic public holidays in regions with large Muslim populations would end problems faced by students or workers when they wanted to take the day off for major religious celebrations.

He said a Muslim police officer could take the day off during an Islamic religious festival but work over Christmas, replacing his Christian colleagues.

Yet, the Interior Minister’s suggestion did not win strong support from his own party.

“In Germany, public holidays have a long tradition, I don’t see any reason to change this now,” Bernd Althusmann, the CDU’s premier candidate in Lower Saxony, told local media on Thursday.

Germany is home to nearly 4.7 million Muslims, and they constitute nearly 5.7 percent of the population.

Many of them are second- or third-generation Turkish families who migrated to the country in the 1960s.