German city grants Muslims Islamic holidays

By REUTERS
August 15, 2012 21:20

 
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BERLIN - Hamburg has become Germany's first city to recognize Islamic holidays, a move meant to encourage the integration of a religious minority often vilified by opponents of immigration.

Muslim employees and students will be allowed days off to celebrate their holidays and Islamic classes will be allowed in state schools, authorities and Islamic groups said after negotiations lasting five years.

"We hope that the introduction of Muslim religious classes in the northern city-state will be a signal for the other fifteen German states," said Daniel Abdin from Hamburg's council of Islamic communities. "This agreement is an important step towards a recognition of Islam in the country."

The agreement will come into force next year, the first of this kind in a country home to some 4 million Muslims, about half of whom have German citizenship.

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