Some politicians are calling for more “transparent” services for Muslims.
Germany’s Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn calledlast month for an “Islam law” that would make imams’ sermons “transparent,” saying that the authorities “had to know what happens in mosques.” He argued that imams should preach in German and that “imported imams lead to social disintegration.” Spahn, who also proposed an official registry for mosques, is a member of the executive committee of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union party. Other senior Merkel allies like Julia Kloeckner have joined the push for an Islam law, though a Merkel spokesman said this month that such a law is “not now” on the agenda.
In Italy, Islam isn’t officially recognized as a religion, even though it has an estimated 1.6 million adherents in the country. (The Italian Constitution requires non-Catholic faith groups to sign an accord or “intesa” in order to be formally recognized, after which the groups gain the right to take days off for holidays, to have their religious marriages acknowledged by the state, and so on.) However, in February, the Interior Ministry agreed to “facilitate the path” toward official recognition in an unprecedented arrangement titled the “National Pact for an Italian Islam.” But the government wanted something in exchange: Muslim organizations had to agree to a registry of their imams, and to a requirement that the imams sermonize in Italian. Interior Minister Marco Minniti described the document as a safeguard “against any form of violence and terrorism.”