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Germany: Iraqi Christian family applies for asylum, gets rejected by hijab-wearing federal official

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A German reader of The Geller Report wrote me: “Imagine that a hen family runs away from Foxfield, arrives to Henhouse, and files for asylum. Then imagine that their application gets considered and rejected by a hen official wearing red fur. Well, you do not have to imagine that, because it did happen: the asylum application of an Iraqi Christian family in Germany just got considered and rejected by a hijab-wearing Federal official.”

This is Merkel’s Germany. And just imagine what it will be like in ten years.

That same reader has provided this translation of “Deutschland – Asyl von Christen: Bosbach kritisiert Kopftuch-Praxis beim BAMF,” by Manuel Bewarder, Welt, February 17, 2017:

Germany – Asylum by Christians

Bosbach criticizes hijab practice at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

By Manuel Bewarder | Published on 02/17/2017

Of all people, a Muslima with a headscarf processes the asylum applications of persecuted Christians. Wolfgang Bosbach, the domestic expert of the CDU [Christian Democratic Union, a German political party] finds that problematic. The Nuremberg authority, however, defends this practice.

A few days ago, Wolfgang Bosbach met a family in his electoral district in North Rhine Westphalia that had applied for asylum in Germany. The people told him that they had fled Iraq as Christians, out of fear of Islamists ready to use violence. Bosbach, who as a domestic politician has already been engaged in the topic of asylum for long, listened.

Eventually, they told him about the hours as they had filed their asylum application in one of the many field offices of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge / BAMF). According to this, a female BAMF coworker with a headscarf sat across from the Iraqis at the submission of the application. Of all the people, she was then to decide if the Christians would obtain protective status over here.

Altogether about 97,000 Iraqis filed for asylum in Germany last year. With that, Iraq is one of the main countries of origin. In the month of January, 64.6 per cent of asylum applications by Iraqis were successful. The family, which spoke to Wolfgang Bosbach, was nevertheless rejected. The Iraqis told him that they had felt being discriminated against, because of all the people, someone with a headscarf had to decide their application.

Wolfgang Bosbach can understand that. If these Christians “have to describe their fate of persecution to a headscarf-wearing Muslima, then I have understanding for the concern of the applicants, that their application could potentially be decided not solely objectively and free of prejudice”, says the domestic expert.

His opinion is that in such cases, it does not come down to the point whether the relevant female coworker “is actually biased or not.” What merely counts is “whether the applicants have reason to fear that their application could potentially be decided not objectively.”

Again, such fear in such cases, “in my belief, is not entirely unfounded”, says Bosbach. “That is why it is incomprehensible to me why only Muslims should decide in the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees whether Christians, who fled from radical Muslims, obtain or do not obtain the right to say in the Federal Republic of Germany.”

“Women are allowed to wear a headscarf at the workplace”

For the Federal Office with its headquarters in Nuremberg, such discussions are not new. Last summer, the then-chief of BAMF Frank-Jürgen Weise answered the question in an interview, whether one perhaps has to take the headscarf off in case of an internship at a public institution. “No, I do not hold that as rational. If the wearing of a headscarf does not converge to such behavior that contradicts our values, then it is okay as an article of clothing.” Then he has no problem with that, said authority chief Weise.

The answer that the BAMF gives sounds similarly when the depicted case is being addressed. “As a general rule, women are allowed to wear a headscarf at the workplace, and the employer can only restrict that if there are objective reasons therefor, for example safety at the workplace, disruption of industrial peace etc.”, a spokeswoman explained.

That does not convince Bosbach. “Apparently, it is not an ‘objective reason’ for the BAMF if asylum applicants fear that the female interviewers or the female decision makers at the BAMF could consider their application not entirely unbiased, neutral and free of prejudice”, the Member of Parliament says. “This reasoning is not comprehensible to me.”

The Iraqis have filed a lawsuit versus the decision

Even the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the authority super-ordinated over the BAMF, represents this position, too, as the Office of the Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (CDU) imparted upon request. In a directive from the year 2014 on the “issue of religiously motivated wearing of a headscarf by female officials or by female employees of collective bargaining”, it is stated: the Basic Law [the German Constitution] relinquishes it “basically to the individual to decide for himself, what religious symbols he acknowledges and worships, and what he rejects.” The headscarf is, other than the Christian cross, indeed not “a religious symbol on its own terms”, stands in the directive. “In connection with the person who wears it, and with her miscellaneous behavior, it can nevertheless develop a comparable effect.”

For the purview of the Federal Administration subsists “neither a Civil Service Law nor a Collective Bargaining Law regulation” that forbids “the wearing of visible religious or world view symbols.” The conclusion eventually reads: “To guarantee a coherent policy in the scope of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the religiously motivated wearing of a headscarf is thus to be granted.”

According to the information of CDU domestic expert Bosbach, the Iraqis have meanwhile filed a lawsuit versus the decision of the Federal Office for Migration. He says they feared that “their lawsuit will now be decided by a female judge as well, who likewise wears a headscarf.”

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