Chancellor Merkel endorses partial ban on Islamic veils in Germany
- Merkel’s announcement is the first public show of support for her party’s call for a ban on full-face veils in public spaces, a proposal Muslim women leaders have pointed out as unnecessary and inflammatory in a nation that already creates strong social pressure not to wear religious veils.
- The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has proposed barring veils including the burqa and the niqab from public spaces including courts and educational institutions and during events such as traffic stops and police checks.
- Merkel, who recently announced a run for a fourth term, has increasingly stressed “integration” and “law and order” amidst rising anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and nationalist sentiments in the country.
“Angela Merkel endorses party’s call for partial ban on burqa and niqab” (The Guardian)
“Angela Merkel Calls for Ban on Full-Face Veils in Germany” (The New York Times)
“Burqa bans: As Angela Merkel supports prohibition, survey shows how Muslim-majority countries feel about veils” (The Independent)
“What’s That You’re Wearing? A Guide to Muslim Veils” (The New York Times, May 2016)
(Image Credit: Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images, via The Guardian)
Black Lives Matter Globally
As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests
Turkish-German lawmakers receive death threats following Armenian Genocide resolution
- Germany’s 11 MPs of Turkish descent received the threats following the passage of a resolution to recognize the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Turkey as genocide.
- Targets included Cem Oezdemir, the leader of Germany’s Greens Party who had pushed for the resolution.
- Officials have been advised against travel to Turkey after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan publicly accused them of betraying their Turkish heritage.
“After threats, security concerns for German MPs with Turkish roots” (Reuters)
“Report: German MPs advised not to visit Turkey” (Deutsche Welle)
“German-Turkish war of words intensifies after ‘genocide’ vote” (euronews)
(Image Credit: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)
Crime report finds sharp uptick in anti-refugee attacks by far-right extremists in Germany
- German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere reported a 35% increase in politically-motivated crimes by the far-right in 2015, the largest increase since the beginning of record-keeping in 2001.
- More than 1,000 attacks on refugee shelters were reported, a more than five-fold increase over the previous year.
- Overall, some 39,000 politically motivated crimes were reported in 2015, including a 31% increase in violent crimes.
“Germany registers surge in crimes by right-wing radicals” (Reuters)
“Germany: right-wing violence rose over 40 percent last year” (AP via U.S. News & World Report)
“German Crime Figures May Raise Voter Security Fears” (The Wall Street Journal)
(Image Credit: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)
German anti-immigrant party adopts anti-Islam manifesto
- The manifesto from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) states Islam is incompatible with the German Constitution and calls for bans on minarets, full-body veils, and calls to prayer.
- The AfD holds no seats in the German Parliament, but has members in half of Germany’s state assemblies and polls as high as 14% nationally, causing concern ahead of the country’s 2017 federal elections.
- Some 2,000 protesters descended on Stuttgart to disrupt the AfD conference, clashing with police during demonstrations.
“Anti-immigrant AfD says Muslims not welcome in Germany” (Reuters)
“Germany’s AfD party adopts anti-Islam manifesto” (euronews)
“AfD manifesto criticized as ‘unconstitutional’ for statements on Islam” (Deutsche Welle)
(Image Credit: F. von Erichsen/picture-alliance/dpa, via Deutsche Welle)
Finding Healthcare Justice for Aging Holocaust Survivors
With the youngest among them now in their 70s, Holocaust survivors are facing late-in-life issues compounded by the traumas from the policies of targeted persecution just over seven decades ago. Dementia has returned some to the nightmares of their youth, while social isolation, physical ailments, and other mental health issues stemming from the violence of the period have left many with high care needs as they age.
In the U.S., home to more than 100,000 survivors (most Jewish), politicians have begun calling on the German government to do more for victims, arguing that current caps on assistance leave many survivors struggling. While reparations have expanded since the 1951 establishment of the Claims Conference, questions over who shoulders the burden for late-in-life care have yet to be resolved. The increasing needs that come with aging have reignited debates about Germany’s obligations to those its government systematically disenfranchised, impoverished, and subjected to physical and mental anguish that outlived the liberation of the final concentration camp.
“As Holocaust Becomes More Distant, Survivors’ Needs Intensify“(The New York Times)
“Federal grants to assist Holocaust survivors draw praise, concern” (The Sun-Sentinel)
“Harrowing story of the Holocaust survivors still fighting for a dignified life 75 years on” (The Daily Mirror)
“Romanian Holocaust survivors aging without benefits” (Ynetnews, July 2015)
“Holocaust survivors deported from France can now apply for reparations” (The Washington Post, November 2015)
“Germany to Pay 772 Million Euros to Survivors” (Der Spiegel, May 2013)
(Image Credit: Kacper Pempel/Reuters, via The New York Times)
German minister announces proposed law requiring refugee integration
- Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere outlined plans for a law requiring refugees to learn German, allow free mobility for relatives, and accept employment or lose their residency.
- Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel stated integration must be “demanded” in return for residency after ruling pro-refugee conservatives were dealt a blow during recent regional elections.
- In 2015, some 1 million refugees arrived in Germany, and an estimated 100,000 have arrived so far this year.
“Germany wants refugees to integrate or lose residency rights” (Reuters)
“Europe Refugee Crisis: Syrians Must Learn German Or Lose Residency Under Proposed Integration Law” (International Business Times)
“When refugees want to work in Germany” (Deutsche Welle)
(Image Credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)