German government has been mulling to introduce “mosque tax” for Muslims as part of the effort to stop Turkey from sending imams for German mosques. However, most influential German-Muslim figures say they wont argue financing while German Muslims lack basic rights which other religious groups have.
“It would not be sincere to talk about a secondary problem while ignoring the primary one. Firstly, German states should recognize Muslim institutions as a religious structures then we should talk about other bunch of problems one of which is financing,” said Bekir Altas, secretary general of IGMG, one of the largest Muslim organizations in Germany.
German government has been considering “mosque tax” to prevent “foreign financing” of German mosques. The actual target of Germany in this case is Turkey. Turkish government pays salaries of imams sent to German mosques. Ankara also helps to finance to build mosques. German state is disturbed about Turkey’s role and in order to cut ties between Germany’s 3 million-strong Turkish community with homeland, Berlin has been looking for ways to stop Turkey from sending imams over.
“WE ARE NOT REMOTE-CONTROLLED”
German government and the politicians from all spectrum claim that Turkey has been influencing and manipulating German Muslims thorough financing. Turkish government pays the salaries of imams sent to Germany from Turkey and also contributes to building of mosques since Turks in Germany can not manage to finance it on their own. However, Altas says the common belief of German politicians about Turkish influence nothing but hysteria. “Muslim community in Europe is not remote-controlled neither by Turkey or another Arab state,” Altas said. He pointed out that Turkish government officials have indeed tried on several occasions to influence them. “We wont allow anyone to force their will on us. And it’s impossible to force us into anything,” Altas reiterated.
MOSQUE TAX IS AN ATTEMPT TO CONTROL ISLAM
Burhan Kesici, head of Islamrat, one of largest Uslamic umbrella groups based in Berlin, released a statement after news about mosque tax hit the German media. Kesici pointed that such step would be an attempt of the German state to control Islam. He also pointed out that in order to have healthier discussions about financing needs of Muslim community, other problems such as recognition needs to be solved.