A preliminary contract has been signed for Islam to be recognized as an official religion in Lower Saxony after a similar position was adopted in Germany's Bremen and Hamburg provinces. Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephen Weil met with representatives of Islamic institutions at the provincial guest-house to initiate the talks to accept Islam as an officially recognized religion.
Hamburg was the first German state to recognize Islam last November, with Hesse following suit in December. Bremen is the third German state to confer this status on Islamic organizations.
Now Lower Saxony is following suit. Noting the Muslims in Lower Saxony were a key part of the society, the prime minister said: "Ther ehas been mutual distrust in the past and our government wishes to show its respect to the Muslims with this contract." The meeting, hosted by hosted the Chairman of Provincial Union of Lower Saxony and Bremen was attended by the Turkish Islamic Union of Religious Affairs Yilmaz Kilic, Chairman of Hannover Council Avni Altiner and Chairman of Alawite Unions Federation in Germany Huseyin Mat along several German politicians and guests.
"We have about 30 issues upon which we desire to discuss and agree on. We would like to sign a contract which can set an example for other major provinces" Kilic said for his part.
Altiner noted that 6.7 percent of the those living in the Lower Saxony province were Muslims, adding they were pleased to have signed a preliminary contract which would allow them to benefit from the same rights that Christians and Jewish people already have.
"Islam to be recognized officially in Lower Saxony " World Bulletin October 1, 2013
"Islam takes another step to German recognition (Bremen)" Deutsche Welle January 29, 2013
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today