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  • 24 March 2005 : Jehovah’s witnesses are recognised as a corporation under public law

Once again, Berlin’s Administrative Court of Appeal (Oberverwaltungsgericht) ruled in its Land Berlin vs. Religionsgemeinschaft der Zeugen Jehovas in Deutschland e.V. decision of 24 March 2005 that the Jehovah’s Witness religious community should be recognised as a corporation under public law. On 19 December 2004, the Constitutional Court of Karlsruhe had annulled a 1997 Federal Administrative Court decision refusing Jehovah’s Witnesses the status of corporation under public law due to their lack of loyalty to the State. The Federal Administrative Court then turned the case back over to the Administrative Court of Appeal, asking it to elucidate whether this religious community, through its stand on blood transfusions, education and the family, endangered the rights of others.
The Administrative Court of Appeal found all of the accusations brought against the Jehovah’s Witnesses to be groundless and any application to reopen proceedings was excluded.

For more information refer to the decision (in German).

  • 23 February 2005 : Recognition of an Islamic federation as a religious community

The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) quashed the Munster Administrative Court’s decision refusing a federation of Muslim associations in North-Rhine-Westphalia the status of religious community. By affirming the right of religious communities to provide religious instruction in State schools, the Court established that a federation could be recognised as a partner of the State in the organisation of religious instruction, provided it does not restrict itself to representing and coordinating the activities of its member associations, but rather pursues religious activities itself, its member associations constitute religious communities and its behaviour does not endanger the constitutional principles of the Basic Law.
The Administrative Court of Appeal must now rule on whether the Islamic Federation fills these requirements and can be recognised as a partner of the State in the instruction of Islam in State schools.

For further information, refer to the full text of this ruling on the Federal Court’s website ( in German).

  • February 2005 : Working towards an organisation that represents Muslims

In February 2005, the majority of Muslim federations in Germany, including Islamrat Für die BRD, Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD) and Verband Islamischer Kulturzentren (VIKZ), met in Hamburg to discuss common organisation structures to promote the State representation of Muslims. There is a committee that will be responsible for working out the structures and details of this new organisation which should eventually become the Muslim’s representative to the State on a Länder and national level.

D 5 April 2005    AMatthias Koenig

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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