German mosques must be monitored by secular state – chief conservative MP

© Johannes Eisele
Germany is a secular state and “representatives and members of all religions,” including Islam, should deliver sermons conforming to state precepts, the leader of Germany’s conservative MPs in Bundestag told a media outlet.

“Sermons held in some mosques do not conform with the modern understanding of statehood,” Volker Kauder told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Friday, stressing that the state “needs to act.” 

“There must be supervision,” said Kauder, member of Chancellor Angerla Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the head of the conservatives' parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament.

“We live in a secular state in which religion is not the state,” Kauder said, so the values of the German Constitution should apply to any religion. “That must be clear,” Kauder said.

“This may be different in Islamic states. In Germany, the state sets the rules.”

Remarks of one of the CDU leaders come on the eve of a weekend congress of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Stuttgart.

At the same time Kauder criticized the proposal from the Christian Social Union (CSU) party based in Bavaria, which suggests that Islamic preachers speak German while addressing gatherings in mosques. Kauder called the initiative a “spurious debate.”

“For Italians the Holy Mass is offered in Italian. In the synagogues they pray in Hebrew. This is to be accepted,” Kauder said.

Just as Germany has a responsibility to confronts neo-Nazi tendencies and ensure that it never returns to fascism, so should Muslims stand firm against radicalization and terrorism, Kauder said.

The CDU official referred to the recent presidential election in Austria, where the hard line of the government coalition towards the refugee policy was not necessarily successful in dealing with populists.

“This should be a lesson to us in Germany. We must give balanced responses,” Kauder stressed, arguing that a strict policy towards the asylum seekers would jeopardize peace in society. “This is also the opinion of the great majority of citizens.”

Although Muslims do have problem with being held responsible for Islamic terrorism, “sometimes it is a social responsibility to deal with mistakes that come from the group, even if one is not personally at fault,” Kauder stated.