Conflict with Far-Right Party Young German Muslims Defend Right to Protest
A debate about violent Salafists has erupted in Germany after radical Muslims clashed with supporters of the anti-Islamic Pro NRW party during its recent election campaign.
Furious and Speechless
Malik, Martin and Koray had left Hamburg in the morning to protest in Cologne against the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that members of the right-wing extremist party Pro NRW intended to display in front of a mosque. Against the will of the police, the Cologne Administrative Court had approved the display of the drawings made by the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
In those incidents, furious young with beards and dressed in long robes, hoodies and camouflage jackets had assaulted members of Pro NRW and the police. In Bonn, they were armed with wooden slats and stones, and 29 officers were injured, including two who were hospitalized with severe stab wounds. Murat K., the suspected knife attacker, is now in custody. Police arrested a total of 109 protesters.
Germany is now embroiled in a debate over violent Muslims. Politicians and federal security officials see a new form of aggression taking shape, and some are asking themselves whether radical youth invoking Islam could instigate an uprising in Germany.
‘We Don’t Throw Any Bombs’
The riots mostly involved Salafists, who preach a particularly rigid form of Islam and see themselves as the only true Muslims. Wolfgang Bosbach, a domestic security expert with the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), says: “Salafists want to replace the democratic constitutional order with a theocracy. That’s why Salafism and democracy are simply incompatible.”
The Honor of Lions
The three men look tired as they sit in the car on their way home to Hamburg. The Cologne police estimate that about 300 protesters “who can be considered part of the Salafist scene” were in the vicinity of the mosque on Tuesday of last week. They came from Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Fürth, Frankfurt and Villingen-Schwenningen, most of them young men born in the 1980s and 1990s, who had arranged to meet using Facebook, email or WhatsApp instant messages on their smartphones, and whose families originally come from Russia, Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt.
Bullied and Disadvantaged
The last two weeks were not a pleasant time for Malik, Martin and Koray. As Muslims who choose to live as genuine a form of Islam as possible, they already feel bullied and disadvantaged — by passersby, teachers, fellow students, bosses and coworkers. They view the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed carrying a bomb in his turban as part of a series of humiliations that has continued for years.
Warnings of Attacks
Near the city of Gütersloh, a little less than halfway into the trip, Martin launches into a lecture about Mohammed as a historic figure. He is very knowledgeable, and yet when he talks it sounds as if he were reciting a speech in school that he had learned by heart. The conversation later turns to the question of whether a Muslim should be allowed to watch American TV series, such as “How I Met Your Mother.” Martin says he liked watching the series, but that he felt that God was insulted a little too often on the program. He suggests that viewers turn off the TV whenever this happens. more
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