Anti-hijab party wins elections

In an unhappy outcome for German Muslims in the largest regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the conservative anti-hijab Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won state elections Sunday, May 22, triggering a decision to hold a snap general election across Germany in the autumn.

The CDU’s resounding victory sent shock waves among the Muslim minority in NRW, home to one million of Germany’s 3.4 million Muslims. During the election campaign, Christian Democrat leader in NRW Juergen Ruettgers said he would swiftly ban hijab from state schools.

Ruettgers’s plan to ban hijab within three weeks of his election victory, despite opposition from other parties, was not the only reason for Muslims’ concern. His anti-Muslim drive is shown in many statements he made in the run up to state elections and even before.

Late last month, he told a German news channel that he is a Catholic who believes Christianity presented the best image of man and should therefore be leading all other religions worldwide.

Islam Online, 23 May 2005