Muslim Kindergarten Opens Amid Controversy

June 18, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Deutsche-Welle,2144,3407535,00.html

Earlier this year, the opening of a kindergarten in an immigrant district of Berlin was blocked on account of the founder’s alleged ties to a radical Muslim group. Once he was replaced, the center got the green light.

In February, an application for a Muslim kindergarten landed on the desk of the education authority in the central Berlin district of Wedding, where almost 35 percent of the population has an immigrant background.

Permission was refused on the grounds that Sinan W., the head of the "Morgenland" (Orient) association behind the project, was believed to have ties to the radical Muslim group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, banned in Germany since 2003. In 2004 he allegedly published texts on the Internet containing incitement to hatred.

Although Sinan W. admitted links, he was also reported to have distanced himself from the group, saying that after studying Islamic sources, he "realized that it tried to draw young people under its spell with emotional subjects and then exploited them for sinister ends."

Authorities stipulate certain conditions

On April 6, the Morgenland association elected another chairman, Michael W., a relative of Sinan W., and resubmitted its application. This time, it was given the go-ahead.