Berlin lawyer and mosque founder Seyran Ates has spoken out in favor of a "mosque tax" for Muslims similar to the church tax. The idea is also supported from the ranks of the grand coalition.
Liberal Muslim Seyran Ates and politicians of the grand coalition plead for the introduction of a mosque tax for Muslims. With such a tax, Muslims should increasingly organize the financing of their communities themselves, Ates, founder of the Berlin Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque, told the online portal of the "Welt" (Wednesday). For the vice chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Thorsten Frei (CDU), a mosque tax would be an "important step" to emancipate Islam in Germany from foreign influence.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior considers such a tax conceivable, but points to legal hurdles. The proposal has already been discussed for some time. Many German mosques resort to imams from abroad due to lack of funding. At the largest mosque association, Ditib, which is linked to the Turkish religious authority in Ankara, imams are sent from Turkey.
Markus Kerber (CDU), the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior responsible for the German Islam Conference, told Die Welt that the goal must be "to ensure that mosques in Germany are not dependent on financial aid from abroad.". A mosque tax analogous to the church tax could be "a solution," but is a matter for the religious community. The prerequisite for the tax would be that the mosques would have to meet the requirements of the law on the proscription of religion for a public corporation.
In the Federal Republic of Germany, it is primarily the Protestant and Catholic churches that have the status of public corporations. Connected with this is the right to collect taxes from the members.
SPD interior affairs expert Burkhard Lischka also expressed openness to the introduction of a mosque tax. "The idea of decoupling the funding of Muslim communities in Germany from foreign donors, I think is worthy of discussion," he told the "Welt".
Austria as a model?
This would reduce the risk of external influence and radicalization. "However, there is likely to be a long way to go before we have a finished concept, which we can only do together with the states, because church taxes are a state matter," Lischka said. In Austria, donations from abroad are now prohibited.
Union faction vice president Frei told Die Welt that the mosque tax would allow Muslims to stand on their own two feet financially. "The path to levy such a tax is already open in principle," stressed Frei.
Michael Frieser (CSU), legal adviser to the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, also supports the proposal. "The goal must be independent funding to ensure the independence of mosque communities," Frieser told the newspaper. He ames that such a tax will provide more transparency.
Katrin Goring-Eckardt, leader of the Green Party, said it was "high time we found independent sources of funding for Muslim communities in Germany". Then, he said, municipalities could "finally devote themselves independently to the complex challenges of integration and community work.