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Germany

Muslim Body Criticizes Growing Discrimination

Germany's Central Council of Muslims has complained that discrimination against Muslims in on the rise in the country. The body's chairman, Nadeem Elyas, told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper that legislation sanctioning or discriminating against Muslims was rapidly passing through parliament. He said suggestions that mosques be put under video surveillance were excessive and effectively made the majority of Muslims feel hostile toward the state. Politicians' failure to take confidence-building measures could cause Muslims to lose faith in the state, Elyas warned. He said the Muslim way of life should be accepted as long as it complies with the law, but he said he experienced the opposite in regard to recent legal decisions restricting the wearing headscarves and the ritual slaughter of livestock. In an interview with German public broadcaster Deutschlandradio on Wednesday, Elyas said the police had recently searched more than 80 mosques and thousands of offices and private homes but had found nothing. They had only managed to alienate the Muslim community. Nonetheless, Elyas said "we must indeed try to exclude fringe groups and to win over the majority of German Muslims as partners." Elyas also sought to distance Muslims living in Germany from the recent wave of Islamic fundamentalist violence.