Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière has kicked up a hornet’s nest by suggesting the introduction of Muslim public holidays in the country. “I am ready to discuss whether we can introduce a Muslim holiday,” De Maizière, a senior member of Merkel’s current cabinet, said at a country’s ruling Christian Democratic Party’s (CDU) event on Tuesday.
Minister Maizière came short of calling for a nationwide Muslim holiday, but supported the idea having Islamic holidays in the regions with strong Muslim presence.
German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost reported German Interior Minister’s comments:
Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière's statement about Muslim holidays caused a stir. It is already being heatedly debated on the internet.
“I am ready to discuss whether we can introduce a Muslim holiday. It could very well be done,” said the Christian Democratic politician at a CDU party event.
After all, there are regions in Germany where [the Catholic festival of] All Saints’ Day is celebrated and in other regions where it isn’t, said the Minister. “Why can’t one consider [introducing] a Muslim holiday in places where there are many Muslims?” De Maizière added. [Translation by the author]
In recent years, Muslim groups have been calling for the recognition of Islamic holidays. Introducing a Muslim holidays in German states or regions with a large Muslim population, as Interior Minister De Maizière is suggesting, will mean closing state government and municipal offices, along with all schools, shops and non-Muslim businesses to mark of Islamic religious festivals.
The German Interior Minister’s statement might have caused an uproar in some quarters within Germany, but he is simply taking Chancellor Merkel’s policy of open doors for migrants -- predominantly men from Arab and Muslim countries -- to its logical conclusion. Native Germans and Christians are already a minority in many inner-city kindergartens and schools. In 2015, more than 33 percent of the children attending schools in Germany had “foreign roots,” the German Federal Statistical Office confirmed. And that was before Chancellor Merkel threw open her country’s borders to illegal migrants.
If Merkel’s policy of open doors stays in place, Germany will soon get plenty of Muslim holidays and much more.