It was one of those odd German stories that just stands out in the middle of forty different items from the weekend.
The German Bundeswehr (the German military) says, via their Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.....they need roughly 1,600 Muslim Imams working for them.
I went and checked the current head-count of the Bundeswehr....it's roughly 177,000 total members and there's somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 Muslim members noted in the Bundeswehr. This is estimated to some degree because the Bundeswehr doesn't readily ask questions like this.
To reach this 1,600 number? Well, that's the interesting part of the story. There just aren't that many German-educated or German-citizen Imams around.....nor will there be for at least another decade (the German university system is trying hard to produce some but it's a long decade away from reality).
So, they've have to hire foreigners....mostly out of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Egypt to fill this role.
You have to approach this from the angle that they already have some Catholic and Protestant priests or ministers on their staffs. Oddly, I've yet to find the number and it's apparently not one of those things they advertise much on. The US does the same thing.....keeping such members around for the faith requirements of their members.
The public perception? To suggest that you need roughly one Imam for each and every Muslim in the Bundeswehr is laughable and I don't see the public buying into this argument. Whether the Greens or Linke Party or SPD Party buys into it? I'm guessing they will think it's a wonderful idea but ask where these people will come from.
So, imagine the advertisement going internationally out. Bundeswehr seeks Imams for service requirements. Must wear the Bundeswehr uniform and abide by Bundeswehr fitness standards. Must have no issue in being around women officers, NCOs or enlisted. Must have no problem in taking orders from a female. Must not be fat or way out of shape.
I'm not optimistic over there being 1,600 applications for such jobs. In fact, over an entire year....if you checked their qualifications out and everything appeared legit....I doubt if they have more than a hundred 'true' applications. After the physical and the various tests required....you'd probably whittle that hundred applications down to forty guys who'd pass the Bundeswehr standards and be accepted.
But the question is....will this just get the general public disturbed and asking more questions about the direction of this suggestion? I'm skeptical that this would all work as drawn up on some white paper.