On 1 September 2022, the Berlin Expert Commission on Anti-Muslim Hatred issued policy recommendations to curb Islamophobia in the German capital. It called on the Berlin Senate to abolish a state “neutrality law” banning religious clothing in public service. According to the document:
[…] the Berlin Neutrality Act makes access to jobs in the public service much more difficult or sometimes impossible for women who have decided to wear a headscarf. Against this background, the administration’s recruitment policy must be improved and further developed. The majority of the members of the panel of experts also see systematic and institutionalized discrimination against women with headscarves in the Neutrality Act without objective justification. The neutrality law is therefore the institutional and structural practice of anti-Muslim racism […]. As there have not yet been any appropriate intervention options against professional bans based on the Neutrality Act, this must be abolished. [Translated from German original.]
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The ruling Berlin Greens party subsequently published a statement supporting the commission’s findings and calling on the state to “suspend its discriminatory practice” until the Federal Constitutional Court makes a final decision. The controversial Berlin Neutrality Act has been in effect since 2005 and prohibits the wearing of religious symbols in parts of the public service, especially in the judiciary and education. The expert commission further recommended that anti-Muslim racism interlocutor positions be set up at the Berlin State Criminal Police Office and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the German domestic intelligence service. It also demanded the abolishment of a section of the General Act on Equal Treatment, allowing unequal treatment when renting out living space in favor of “socially stable” resident structures and “balanced economic, social and cultural conditions.”
The six-member commission was set up in 2021. Over the past year and a half, it has analyzed issues pertaining to anti-Muslim racism in Berlin, closely cooperating with civil society actors and social scientists. In April 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that the commission included two individuals with close ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) and the Hamas support infrastructure in Germany.