German Church Tax

In a move to recognize Islam as a growing religion and to reduce radicalization, German politician suggests a Muslim church tax.

Alexander Radwan, a German politician of Egyptian descent, has proposed to tax Muslims. The intention is to counter effects of foreign financing given to imams and mosques from other parts of the world.

Radwan belongs to the Christian Social Union (CSU) party and this proposal was made by him after Andreas Scheur, the General Secretary of the CSU, spoke about the requirement of an “Islam Law.” The legislation would help Germany to permit German Muslims to sponsor or furnish their own mosques and not be reliant on funding from Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

For those conversant with German history, this kind of tax is nothing new. For a German following the Jewish, Catholic or Protestant denomination, about nine percent of income taxes are extracted to support the place where you worship your God. It is known as Kirchensteuer or church tax. The tax revenues allocated to the church are declining every year. This is because an increasing number of Germans are turning away from religion. Many German citizens even actively disengage from their faith to avoid paying a considerable sum of money to an institution which they no longer support.

Radwan has a point in the whole matter. According to him, the law was made when there were hardly any Muslims in Germany. In 2016, the Muslim population in the country now stands at about four million. This large number necessitates them being treated like all other Germans. The plus point of such a financing scheme, he adds, is that it will decrease the influence of Wahhabism, a Sunni Islam movement.

Many rationalists hold the opinion that Kirchensteuer should be absent from modern day Germany. It is a travesty of law. No government should function as money collecting intermediaries, more so between their places of worship and followers. However, as long as the law is valid, it should be imposed on all religions.

Radwan, in an interview, said that if Germany was serious when it came to ending the supply of foreign funds for use in mosques, then it should establish a course that would permit an adequate funding stream for German Islamic life. He went on to praise the Austrian Government which have banned mosques from getting money from abroad. Radwan also warned about the dangers posed by radical preachers imported from other countries. He said that foreign funded imams preach against basic German values. It is imperative that the German state control the messages sent to German mosques from outside the country. 

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