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Muslim Representatives Double in Germany

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Can Europe Learn the Lessons of Yugoslavia? (Sep. 2001)
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Iranian Quran News Agency (Tehran), Sept. 25

BERLIN — German Muslims have more than doubled their representation in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, in the polls organized on Sunday, reported IOL.net.

Muslim MPs Lale Akgun and Ekin Deligoz were reelected and joined by newcomers Hakki Keskin, Sevim Dagdelen and Huseyin Aydin, all five of Turkish origin, according to the Web site of a German Islamic periodical.

The election results left Germany locked in political paralysis and its political future unclear with no clear winner.

Opposition leader Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), narrowly won the election but without the needed majority to form a government.

Incumbent Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whose Democratic Party (SPD) made a strong come-back, insist they have a mandate to rule the country.

Serving Germans

Akgun had the biggest vote score among the five Muslim winners, finishing the race in Cologne with a ten-point lead against her CDU challenger.

For the past 25 years, she has been involved in immigration and integration efforts, serving Muslims in her constituency.

Likewise, Deligoz was reelected to the Bundestag as a member of the Greens, the party she had been representing in the parliament since 1988.

Deligoz, who headed the children committee in the outgoing parliament, supports the introduction of Islam classes in German schools.

She believes that a successful integration policy should primarily target the youth.

Some 40 Muslim youths, aged 18-30, set up a kiosk in central Hamburg on December 21-24, distributing illustrative materials on Islam among attentive and enthusiastic passers-by.

The energetic volunteers used “Muslims Against Terror” as their mantra to reinforce the fact that Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism.

Newcomer Keskin said his election marks a new turning point in his life, which he devoted to defending the rights of Turkish immigrants in Germany.

Dagdelen, a Cologne university student, vowed to serve the best interests of her electorate.

There are some 3.4 million Muslims in Germany, two thirds of whom are of Turkish origin.

Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity.

Original article

(Posted on September 27, 2005)

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