• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Bundeswehr lacks chaplains for Muslim and Jewish soldiers

The Local · 11 May 2010, 12:10

Published: 11 May 2010 12:10 GMT+02:00

Of the more than 254,000 troops, an estimated 1,000 are Muslim, and 200 are Jews, but they have no religious counsel, daily Die Welt reported on Tuesday.

“I have never had a bad experience,” 31-year-old Muslim soldier Arif Ünal told the paper.

However, he added that he must plan his prayer times around the military's schedule and sometimes only eat vegetables at the canteen to avoid pork, which is forbidden by Islam.

Those who join the German military are not required to indicate their religion, but the state ensures that soldiers have a right to practice their faith while serving. Still, there are no prayer rooms or chaplains available to non-Christians.

“Theologically nothing speaks against giving Muslims a chaplain too,” Werner Weinholt, assistant to military Bishop Martin Dutzmann, told the paper.

But current rules state that there must be at least 1,500 members of a faith on the force before the Bundeswehr is obligated to create a corresponding position. Another reason for the military’s failure to provide religious guidance for Muslims is the a lack of an official organisation to advocate on their behalf, the paper said.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile the French army plans to increase its existing staff of Imams to 40 this year, and the Austrian army has employed two to see after its 800 Muslim troops.

The Bundeswehr’s religious centre (ZInFü), however, is still trying to catch up to the reality of the ranks. For about a year the organisation has been working on a programme to build “intercultural competence,” the paper said. Their first pilot seminar is scheduled for May 17.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:20 May 11, 2010 by Thames
Next step remove the cross wherever it is found.

No more crosses on planes, vehilces or awards. The cross should be removed because it is often iterperted as a Christian symbol and there is no place in modern Germany for the Christian religion.

Christianity is outdated. 2000 years of a religion and 1500 in Germany is to long it must be replaced by a more modern relgion and that is why Islam must be promoted in Germany. Islam is 700 years younger than Christianity and it is much more tolerate and progressive, a better fit for a modern world.

One more step in German's suicide.
20:54 May 11, 2010 by Hebbellover
@Thames I hope you aren't correct, but I fear you might be.
22:40 May 11, 2010 by wxman
The numbers are too low to justify a chaplain staff for these religions. Remember, like all miltaries, these troops are not at the same location. Better they should seek religious councel in the local community rather than increase miltary spending to support their religious needs.
00:11 May 12, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, the cross will never go away. Look at what happend when they tried to remove them from schools.

The Psychology of every nation on earth is based upon a particlar religion. This is true simply because we must all believe in something. "A man without a Psychology is crazy."
15:10 May 12, 2010 by Thames
@Logic Guy

I was being sarcastic. the cross has been used for thousands of years and will never go away. Christianity survived underground for a few hundreed years when the Roman Empire sought to surpress it. It will survive and the Gates of Hell will never overcome it. It is only to Germany's detriment to cast aside the religion that helped civilize and unite the German tribes.
Today's headlines
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

German Turkish community split by unrest after coup plot
Pro-Erdogan protesters in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Hatred between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those opposed to him has exploded on social media in Germany in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday.

Germany stresses defence of Baltics after Trump comments
Photo: DPA

Germany on Friday stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies after White House hopeful Donald Trump called the commitment into question.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,799
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd