June 20th, 2009

Central Council criticises Federal Constitutional Court 's ruling on state funding of religious organisations

Karlsruhe/Berlin – The Central Council of Jews in Germany has criticised the ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court that confers the responsibility for the distribution of public subsidies to religious organisations on the federal states. The Council's Secretary General, Stephan J. Kramer, told the Rheinpfalz am Sonntag newspaper the decision could eventually lead to a break-up not only of Jewish communities but also of all Churches and religious groups. He argued that the ministries of the federal states did not have the necessary expertise to judge what conditions an organisation must conform to in order to qualify as a Jewish community. Kramer said the decision was also a "slap in the face" for those who wanted the Muslim community to speak with one voice because in future every mosque would be able to apply for public subsidies. In his view, this could impede the desirable creation of an umbrella organisation representing the whole Muslim community. The Secretary General called on the federal and state authorities to pass a special law that would guarantee the further existence of religious communities in Germany . (20.06.2009)