Aygül Özkan, the first Muslim woman with Turkish origin appointment for state minister in Lower Saxony from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , caused an uproar on Monday when she suggested that crucifixes should be banned in classrooms. Özkan is the first immigrant ever appointed to a state cabinet. Her recent appointment seemed to reflect positively for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, however Özkan comments have caused conflict between CDU members. In an interview with newsweekly Focus that was published last Thursday Özkan stated “Christian symbols” — or, more specifically, crucifixes — “do not belong in state-run schools” in the same way, she added, that Muslim headscarves don’t. Christian Wulff, the state’s governor, responded to Özkan statement by saying “the state government welcomes Christian symbols — and crucifixes in schools, in particular — as part of a tolerant education based on Christian values.” Some opponents are now calling for Özkan’s appointment to be canceled.
Although it appears that Özkan was somewhat going against the CDU party’s religious background, I feel her statement to be one founded perhaps on what she sees as the present or future state of Germany.
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