STUTTGART, Germany (Agence France-Presse) — A German state said yesterday that Muslims applying to immigrate would be singled out for tougher questioning from Jan. 1, in a decision blasted in Berlin as discriminatory.
The Interior Ministry of the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said that Muslim potential immigrants would face a lengthy interrogation including 30 questions on applicants’ political and cultural views.
Topics would include applicants’ opinions on equal rights for men and women, religions freedom, honor killings and the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.
The ministry said that Germany’s 16 federal states must be permitted to learn whether potential citizens truly accept the country’s Basic Law, to which they are required under federal law to deliver an oath.
“There have been findings that Muslims can face a conflict and deliver an oath that does not correspond with their personal beliefs and thus does not fulfill the immigration requirements,” the ministry said.
“Eliminating these doubts is the aim of a conversation that the immigration authorities will conduct with immigration applicants from January 1, 2006, from the 57 states that belong to the Islamic conference.”
About 60 percent of all immigrants to Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2004 came from Muslim nations.
The ministry added that other applicants who are “known to be” Muslims would face the same line of questioning, as would any people whose oath did not appear to be credible.
The ministry said that while most Muslims accepted the German system, recent “honor killings” of Muslim women in Germany by family members were evidence of a conflict between the rule of law and an interpretation of Islam.
Berlin Interior Minister Ehrhart Koerting said that he understood concerns about integration of Muslims but slammed the policy for fostering prejudice.
“That is a serious danger to internal security and intolerable,” he said.
Germany’s states are given a wide berth to determine their own immigration and security policies under the federal system.