News from Berlin and Germany: 13 February, 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



Political fight over headscarf ban

The discussion about the Neutrality Act, which bans the wearing of religious symbols in public schools, the police and the judiciary, is back. In the summer of last year, the Federal Labour Court finally upheld the complaint of a Muslim woman who felt discriminated against because she has not been taken on in the school service because of her headscarf. The Greens and the Left called for an amendment or abolition of the neutrality law and Senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) declared she would consider going to Karlsruhe. Now, almost half a year later, the time has come. Source: nd

IG Metall-Berlin rejects breaking up of the S-Bahn

Until 15 February 2021, private and public providers can bid for the Berlin S-Bahn tender. IG Metall Berlin rejects privatisation and dismantling the S-Bahn, and demands a halt to the tendering process. According to its own figures, the S-Bahn Berlin transported 485 million passengers on its 16 lines in 2020, around 1.5 million per day. There has been resistance to these plans since they were announced. Like the water supply, local public transport is a service of general interest. Affordable and well-functioning local transport is considered essential for the many companies and employees in the city. Source: IG Metall


More than 900 attacks on Muslims and mosques in 2020

At least 901 Islamophobic and anti-Muslim crimes were registered by the authorities nationwide in 2020. That was an increase of under two per cent compared to 2019. In most cases, the perpetrators were right-wing extremists. The final figures for 2020 are likely to be even higher, according to the Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag. There was already an increase in registered attacks against Muslims and Muslim institutions in 2019. A large part of the assaults are not even reported by the victims because they are ashamed or afraid of the authorities. Source: spiegel

Gay men not allowed to donate blood

Male homosexuals are not allowed to donate blood in Germany, unless they have not had sex with another man for more than a year. This is a rule from the 1980s which discriminates. And, it seems that it will probably remain for the foreseeable future. Permission to donate blood is regulated in the Haemotherapy Guideline, for which the German Medical Association (BÄK) is responsible. According to blood donation services and the BÄK, every blood donation is examined again before it is administered to a patient. Source: taz

Deportations raisethe risk of a global pandemic

A deportation flight from Germany landed in Kabul on Wednesday, and it is a scandal within a scandal. Nearly 9,000 additional new infections were recorded by Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday for Germany, and 43 for Afghanistan on the same day. By deporting people, Germany is driving up the infection rate in a global pandemic. It may seem cynical to cite Corona as a reason for stopping deportations. Little is known about last Wednesday’s collective deportation. Early in the morning, 26 men were picked up. No one protested. Source: taz

AfD brakes for the rich

An exemplary event took place on Thursday in the Bundestag: the AfD, which mainly appears as the avenger of the widows and orphans of the German middle class, praised the Schuldenbremse, the so-called debt brake, which is a money pump anchored in the Basic Law for the enrichment of the richest. The AfD requested that the Federal Constitutional Court review the 2021 federal budget. Most of the parliamentary groups were in favour of the motion, with only the Left Party expressing fundamental opposition. The debt brake only allows a minimum federal debt of up to 0.35 per cent of the gross domestic product. The Bundestag can only decide on an exception in emergencies. Source: jW

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