State-funding seeks to lure clerics away from foreign donors
Germany wants to introduce a “mosque tax” for German Muslims to fund mosques and Islamic religious activities.
The measure proposed by the lawmakers of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition aims to win the loyalty of Muslim clerics who receive generous funding from Islamic countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
Last year, authorities booked imams of the Turkish-funded organisation Ditib for engaging in espionage in Germany. Ditib operates more than 900 mosques in Germany, and receives funding and doctrinal guidance from Turkey’s state-run Islamic agency Diyanet. In a 2016 report, German intelligence agency found Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait funneling money to ISIS-linked Salafist preaches and mosques across the country.
The move will open an additional source of funding for German mosques and Islamic organization without stopping the inflow of foreign money.
German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the government proposal:
Lawmakers from Germany’s grand coalition government said on Wednesday that they were considering introducing a “mosque tax” for German Muslims, similar to the church taxes that German Christians pay.
Thorsten Frei, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) told Die Welt daily that a mosque tax was “an important step” that would allow “Islam in Germany to emancipate itself from foreign states.”
In Germany, church taxes are collected from practicing Catholics and Protestants in order to fund church activities. They are collected by the state and then transferred to religious authorities. (…)
Officials estimates report that there are between 4.4 and 4.7 million Muslims living in Germany, but those figures include people whose families are Muslim by tradition and the number of practicing Muslims could be much lower.
German media outlets welcomed the move. “The plea for a mosque tax is a good step to promote integration of Muslims [in German society],” the newspaper Schwarzwälder Bote declared.
“Mosques in Germany, which do not have money for educational and social work, are easy prey for puppet masters in Riad and Ankara,” Die Landeszeitung wrote. “[Muslim] Communities, which can organize themselves in line with the German church tax, can become immune to the threat of radicalization in the course of time.”
By proposing a mosque tax, the German government hopes to halt the surge of Islamism by throwing money at it. An annual allocation of €100 million to “de-radicalize” German Muslims hasn’t made much impact either, according to the German public broadcaster MRD. State funding won’t change the doctrine of jihad warfare being preached in German mosques nor will it turn jihad-seekers into moderates.
The proposed levy is modeled on the existing church tax under which the state collected around 11.5 billion last year. The state-approved union of protestant churches, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), received around 5.4 billion and the Catholic Church got over 6 billion from the national treasury. Nearly three-fourths of the ecclesiastical expenses are met thorough the church tax, official data show.
This excessive dependence on state funding has impacted the social and political positions taken within these two official churches. Germany’s state-funded Protestant and Catholic churches emerged as the biggest supporters of Chancellor Merkel’s policy of open borders for immigrants.
In July 2018, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the Catholic bishops in Germany, attacked the rising right-wing “populism” in the country, saying: “You cannot be a nationalist and a Catholic.” Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, recently urged people not to vote for the right-wing Alternative for Germany.
Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, head of the Evangelical Church in Germany, said that he was “distressed” to see Christians voting for the AfD.
Instead of dampening the AfD’s electoral prospects, the right-wing party continues to surge in the polls while around 200,000 Protestants and 167,000 Catholics officially pulled their church membership last year.
While the establishment in Berlin remains obsessed with the right-wing “populism,” the country is witnessing a rise of Islamic radicalism. Thanks to Chancellor Merkel’s open border policy, the number of Islamists living in the country has now crossed well over 11,000.
Germany-Based Salafi Cleric Calls for a “Show of Hands”: Who Wants to Die Right Now and Meet Allah? (Courtesy MEMRI TV)
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