A bill passed on Wednesday (6 November) by the German cabinet requiring all imams who work in Germany to prove their proficiency in the German language is soon expected to be approved by the German Parliament ‘Bundestag’, reports The Telegraph.
What it means that foreign preachers will only be granted work visas if they can demonstrate basic German language proficiency. They would then need to show improvements in their language skills after a year in order to prolong their stay.
Although the new law applies to all religious preachers, the coalition treaty signed by the German government - which includes the rule - specifically refers to ‘imams’ or Muslim clerics.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer hailed it as “a vital contribution for successful integration in Germany.” The German government believes that imams will play a pivotal role as models of integration for other immigrants, who often turn to mosques for help when they first arrive.
However for a long time, German media has reported concerns about clerics preaching in other languages exacerbating the issue that there are no official figures on the number of mosques in Germany, nor on where their funding comes from.
Authorities have long suspected that Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, have been sending massive amount of petrodollars to finance the construction of mosques in Germany in order to spread the fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam practised on the Arabian Peninsula.
Conservatives in Germany think that imams who preach in other languages will espouse views hostile to democracy in a secular and pluralistic society.
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