No progress in fighting discrimination of German Muslim students

BY|Anadolu Agency

We see need for action in this area as situation has not improved, says German human rights official

There has been no improvement in the situation of Muslim students grappling with ongoing discrimination in German schools, said a leading human rights official on Wednesday.

“We see a need for action in this area and I have not noticed that the situation has improved,” said Dr. Beate Rudolf, director of the German Institute for Human Rights, at a press conference in Berlin.

Rudolf acknowledged though that this issue was not addressed at all in this year’s annual report on the developments in the human rights situation in Germany which was submitted to the nation’s parliament (Bundestag).

Within Germany’s public school systems, there have been numerous reports of discrimination against young Muslim students, specifically girls, leading to a climate of low expectations and discouragement.

There have also been frequent complaints by Germany’s Muslim community that teachers were less likely to recommend Muslim pupils for schools which would pave the way for a university rather than a regular vocational career.

Discrimination against Muslims is widespread in Germany, according to research published in October by the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR).

Nearly 48% of respondents said they believe “Islam is not compatible with German society,” while 29% suggested restricting the practice of Islam in the country.

“Negative attitudes toward Islam are widespread in all groups examined — people with and without a migration background,” the researchers said in their report.

Nearly 44% of Germans surveyed said that Muslim organizations should be monitored by the state’s security agencies, while only 16% opposed such a move.

Anti-Islamic attitudes were slightly more common among migrants who arrived in Germany from non-Muslim countries. People who had social contact with Muslims, however, were less inclined to hold anti-Islamic attitudes, according to the report.


The SVR’s study also analyzed anti-Semitic attitudes in Germany and concluded that anti-Semitism was widespread both among Germans and migrant communities in the country.

“Negative attitudes toward people of the Muslim and Jewish faiths are divisive and undermine social cohesion. However, attitudes of this kind are not only held by people without a migration background, but also by people with a history of migration,” the report said.

The SVR called for stronger action to counter anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic attitudes in all population groups, by promoting intercultural contacts and anti-discrimination work.

Among other things, religious communities need to be more closely involved, while interfaith dialogue and related forms of interaction can also contribute to reducing prejudice, the group said.

A country of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. It is home to nearly five million Muslims, according to official figures.

The country has witnessed growing racism and Islamophobia in recent years, fueled by the propaganda of far-right groups and parties, which have exploited the refugee crisis and attempted to stoke fear of immigrants.

German authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic hate crimes in 2021. More than 46 mosques were attacked between January and December last year, and at least 17 people suffered injuries as a result of anti-Muslim violence​​​​​​​.

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