BERLIN (Web Desk) – After Sadiq Khan’s historic win as London’s first Muslim mayor, a Muslim woman in Germany was elected as the speaker of a state parliament for the first time on Wednesday.
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Muhterem Aras, a Green Party politician, took the post in Baden-Württemberg from a member of a populist anti-immigration party. “We wrote history today,” she said after sweeping in with a significant majority.
Born in Turkey, she moved to a town near Stuttgart with her parents as a child and studied economics before founding her own tax advisory firm.
Her political career started in 1992 after she stood with the Greens on the local council and rose through party ranks to become its local leader and enter the Baden-Württemberg state parliament.
She was elected as “Landtagspräsident” by 96 local MPs, becoming the first Muslim woman to hold the office.
The election came amid continuing tensions over religion, immigration and extremism in Germany.
Members of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) refused to join the applause during Ms Aras’ first session as speaker, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Earlier this month, the party notched a record success in the local elections on a manifesto that claimed Islam was not compatible with the country’s constitution and called for a ban on minarets and the burqa.
A poll released on Thursday indicated that almost two-thirds of Germans think Islam does not “belong” to their country.
The survey results indicated changing attitudes following the Paris and Brussels attacks and the arrival of more than a 1.1 million refugees in the country.
Around 60 per cent of the 1,003 respondents said that the religion had no place in Germany, while 34 per cent said it did.
The news first appeared in The Independent