BREMEN - Following Hamburg steps, the northwestern German Bremen state has become the second of the country's 16 states to recognize Muslim holidays, in a new achievement for the religious minority in the European country.
I am delighted because Islam and Muslims are part of our city and part of our life, Jens Boehrnsen, the mayor of the city state, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
Signing the deal with representatives of the local Muslim community on Friday, November 30, Boehrnsen praised the new agreement to recognize Muslim holidays.
The agreement signed reflects mutual recognition and respect of mutual values, added the mayor.
The deal will allow members of the community to take days off work for Muslim celebrations, although they will not receive paid holiday.
The agreement still awaits to be ratified in the Bremen state parliament, as well as by city authorities.
Two weeks ago, the northern German city of Hamburg has recognized Muslim religious holidays.
Under the deal, authorities will recognize `Eid Al-Fitr, `Eid Al-Adha, and the Day of Ashura as official holidays.
Germany is Europe's second-biggest Muslim population after France, and Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity.
It has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.
Germany's daily Der Spiegel had warned that the European country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.