Aygül Özkan (38) wasn't even sworn in when the designated Minister for Social Affairs in the German state of Lower Saxony caused controversy already by calling for a ban on crucifixes in state schools, thus making unambiguously clear what is most near and dear to her heart.
Özkan was set to be, and is now, Germany's first Muslim minister on government level.
She is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Sacred Heart Socialist party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), that has dropped the "Sacred Heart" bit long ago and is labelled with stubborn obtusity "conservative" by the international media. The controversial statement was made during an interview with the newsmagazine "Fokus" on April 24 to the orgasmic approval of the politically up-to-date mainstream. Özkan hastened to say that a ban of crucifixes in classrooms would apply to headscarves in schools as well, ignoring the fact that the cross has a fundamentally different meaning to Christians than the headscarf to Muslims.
However, her comments triggered off at least some criticism in her own party. The man who appointed her, Lower Saxony state premier/governor, Christian Wulff, distanced himself from his minister-to-be's statement: "Christian symbols, above all the crucifix in schools, are welcomed by the state government in Lower Saxony in keeping with the practice of tolerant education on the basis of Christian values," Wulff told news agency dpa.
And: "Mrs Özkan expressed her personal opinion on religious neutrality, but she's not questioning the practice in Lower Saxony." Well, whatever.
She then apologised, stating that she doesn't know the state of Lower Saxony all that well, which is, of course, an excellent starting point to govern it.
Özkan was born in Hamburg to Turkish immigrants. A lawyer by training, she joined the CDU six years ago. Before her appointment, she was the party's economic policy spokeswoman for the parliamentary group in Hamburg. Earlier this month, Christian Wulff had called her appointment "a good signal for children and young people with immigrant backgrounds", the implications of which must have gone a mile high over his duncecap.
Özkan is indeed for all things that are beneficial to her ethnic brethren and, will wonders ever cease, disadvantageous to the vast majority of the people she has sworn to serve and from whom to avert damage, like Turkey's entry to the European Union, double citizenship or the recognition of foreign univesity diploma. She has taken the "integration" portfolio over from the Ministry of the Interior, to which it used to belong.
She swore her oath of office "by God" last Tuesday, using a traditional formula in German, promising to faithfully perform her duties as minister ... "so help me God". Alternatively, she could have used the non-religious wording, "I solemnly promise...", however, she didn't. (Notabene that oaths in Germany are not sworn on the bible, which would have clarified matters, but simply recited aloud.) In a written statement afterwards, Özkan made clear that she is an observant Muslim and had deliberately appealed to "the one and only God" to whom Muslims, Christians and Jews pray, which is, come to think of it, even more disingenuous than comparing headscarf and cross, but at least it gave some dotty old theologians out of touch with political realities the opportunity to mumble that this is not so and why, something nobody who didn't know that anyway wanted to hear.
Lawyer-by-training and German by naturalisation Özkan also sees German courts as an "alien authority". In an interview with the "Berliner Morgenpost" she stated:
We urgently need more judges with a migration background, so that the aggrieved parties can see that it is not an alien authority that makes the decision, but that we are part of it as well.Let's forget about the implications of the "we" this German minister is using so liberally, and concentrate on the really interesting bit: WHY would Turkish... sorry: judges with a Turkish migration background, who will have to have the necessary German law degrees and will, of course, apply German law, NOT be seen as an "alien authority" by other Turks? Naughty girl! I hope she isn't talking about "race" here! But then, it's probably just another dose of that taqqiya which is, no doubt, the most advanced art form the Muslim world developed.
Most recently, it transpired -- on Workers Day, no less -- that Özkan during her time as a manager with the private mail service provider TNT has closed in 2008 work contracts that are considered, if not illegal, to be against public policy, or to translate the German term more literally, unethical. Terms like a wage rate of Euro 7.50 per hour, Euro 2.30 below the minimum wage of the Deutsche Post, plus 10% unpaid excess work usually don't go down well with the trade unions here. It remains to be seen now whether the German public feels more solidly united with Les Damnés de la Terre or with our fellow citizens with a migration background. My money is on the latter.
Thanks to the state of Lower Saxony we know now whom not to appoint for a government office, thanks to the state of Lower Saxony as well we know, too, that it is not the "migration background" that causes the trouble.
My older entries Be Careful What You Wish For and Why Allah is not the God of the Bible may be interesting in this context as well.