Merkel-affiliated politician suggests new ‘church tax’ for Muslims in Germany

A general view shows the Sehitlik-Moschee mosque after Friday prayers during Ramadan in Berlin, Germany © Fabrizio Bensch
Just a week after Germany’s Christian Social Union party called for stricter regulation of Islam in the country, Alexander Radwan, a CSU member of the Bundestag, has recommended the introduction of a so-called “church tax” for Muslims living in Germany.

"If you stop foreign funding of mosques, of course you have to provide sufficient funding here in Germany," Radwan, a member of the European Parliament for Bavaria, told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, adding that this could be done similar to the “existing church tax for Catholics and Protestants."

Church members in Germany are required to pay tax to fund church activities, so when Germans register as Catholic, Protestant or Jewish on their tax forms, the government receives income tax from them which amounts to 8 or 9 percent of their total income tax, according to the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Radwan didn't provide further details for his proposal, but according to the interview, Muslim religious communities may have to get registered as public corporations (Koerperschaft des oeffentlichen Rechts) like The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and many other religious institutions. The status will allow them to raise taxes.

Last week Andreas Scheuer, General Secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s governing CDU party, laid out a proposal to “cultivate” a European kind of Islam in Germany by barring foreign investment from Muslim countries. He told Die Welt daily that "German must become the language of the mosques,” among other things. Scheuer highlighted the need for a so-called “Islam law” that would help Muslims better integrate into European society.

We cannot tolerate a situation in which extremist views are imported from abroad... Europe must cultivate its own Islam,” he told the newspaper.

The law would involve curbing the money flow from foreign countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia to mosques and Islamic kindergartens across Germany. “All imams need to be trained in Germany and share our core values,” Scheuer said.

“Those who are not integrated cannot stay here. We must put an end to this integration romance. Multiculturalism has failed. Those who are not integrated, must expect departure [from Germany],” the politician added.

A proposal to impose sanctions on migrants who refuse or fail to integrate and prefer to stay away from social life has previously come from German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

The politician said late last month that there has to be a certain “connection between the successful completion of integration and how long you are permitted to stay in Germany.” De Maiziere said the government “does not want ghettos” and would be introducing a new integration law in May by latest, Der Tagesspiegel reported.

Under the new plan, any migrant who refuses to take German language lessons and look for a job in an effort to integrate into German society would be deported.