April 01, 2004

Germany Falling -AND- Muslim Youths Initially Blamed for Jewish Attacks

Agence France Presse, 4/1/04


STUTTGART, Germany - A conservative German state became the first in the
country Thursday to ban Muslim public school teachers from wearing
headscarves amid a fierce debate on religious symbols in public life.

The legislature of the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, led by a
coalition of the Christian Democratic Union and the liberal Free Democrats,
voted almost unanimously for the new law. It will go into effect this month.

State culture minister Annette Schavan said that because Muslim head
covering was "open to interpretation" including a possible espousal of the
"Islamist political views," it had no place in the classroom.

Germany's highest tribunal, the constitutional court, ruled in September
that Baden-Wuerttemberg was wrong to forbid a Muslim female teacher,
Fereshta Ludin, from wearing a headscarf in the classroom.

But it said Germany's 16 regional states could legislate to ban religious
apparel if it was deemed to unduly influence children.

Six states have now put forward draft laws banning headscarves or other
religious symbols in public institutions.

The latest came this week when the left-wing government in Berlin agreed on
a sweeping ban on religious symbols that would cover not only Muslim
headscarves but also large Christian crosses and Jewish skullcaps and apply
to police officers, judges and bailiffs as well as public school teachers.

Muslim groups have fiercely criticized the headscarf bans as compromising
their freedom of religious expression.


Reuters, 4/1/04


PARIS - Hatred of Jews and Muslims has taken root in France, with
anti-Semitism behind most racist crime and hostility towards Islam on the
rise, a national human rights commission says in its annual report.

The persistent high level of such hate crimes and the spread of racist
attitudes among school pupils are serious causes of concern, even if the
overall number of racist crimes fell last year compared to 2002, it said on

"The link with international events, already seen in recent years, was
confirmed in 2003 with a spike in the spring at the start of the war in
Iraq," Joel Thoraval, head of the National Consultative Commission on Human
Rights, told journalists.

Thoraval said outside events had a direct influence on hate crimes but did
not identify the perpetrators and victims.

The final version of a controversial European Union report issued on
Wednesday blamed "young, disaffected white Europeans" for the rise in
anti-Semitic violence. An earlier version had blamed Muslim youths for the
rise in attacks on Jews in Europe...

Anti-Semitic violence accounted for 72 percent of the hate crimes and
threats registered in France last year, or 588 out of 817, the report said.
In 2002, 932 of the 1,313 acts of racist violence were anti-Jewish.

By comparison, France registered 614 racist and anti-Semitic attacks and
threats in 1995, and 189 in 1990.

Regarding other racist violence, four-fifths of attacks and threats were
against Muslims, the report said...


Posted by shereen at April 1, 2004 06:47 PM