Green MPs warn of growing threat of Islamophobia in Germany

Ozcan Mutlu and Belit Onay

“Islamophobia poses a big problem in Germany, like anti-Semitism,” warns Özcan Mutlu [above, left], a representative of the Green Party in the German parliament in Berlin.

Speaking with The Anadolu Agency on Thursday, Mutlu warned that the rising turnout of the demonstrations was of grave concern for the five million Muslims of Germany. Demonstrations in the East German city of Dresden led by the far right group Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident have attracted thousands.

“Islamophobia has peaked nowadays in Germany, becoming especially widespread in Europe after the 9/11 terror attacks,” he pointed out.

Mutlu blames German media for failing to adequately cover the threat. “German media has not taken its responsibility of warning the people about Islamophobia so far,” Mutlu said.

“The problem is not the large turnout at these demonstrations, but the fact that they propogate racism and Islamophobia,” Mutlu said. Mutlu pointed out the anomaly that a large number of demonstrators turn out in Dresden, yet the city has a relatively small Muslim population.

Nearly 100,000 Turkish entrepreneurs in Germany employ approximately 400,000 people, according to the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association. “The demonstrators’ concerns are completely irrelevant, because, the immigrants in Germany do not harm the German economy; on the contrary, they make a contribution to the economy.”

The Green Party has demanded the enhancement of new programs and projects for immigrants, as well as additional financing for them. “But the ruling parties do not agree with us, and they have declined all of our demands,” Mutlu complained.

Mutlu also said that paying more attention to education was essential in eliminating Islamophobia, anti-semitism and anti-immigrant feeling. “We have to teach our children to be aware of racism, and we also have to teach that multiculturalism is rich.”

Lower Saxony Green Party Deputy Belit Onay [above, right] drew attention to the rising number of mosque attacks in Germany, saying that the mosque attackers are driven by Islamophobia. “There is no proof that the organized crime syndicates have committed the attacks,” Onay told AA.

The most recent mosque attack occurred in Dormagen city in the federal state of Northern Rhein-Westphalia on Saturday. Neo-Nazis attacked the Turkish-Islamic Union’s Suleymaniye Mosque by painting swastikas on its walls.

“The mosque attack in Dormagen is unfortunately a common type of attack,” Onay said. “After the 9/11 terror attacks, an average of one mosque attack every two weeks has been carried out in Germany from 2001 to 2011.”

The Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Committee issued a report in November on the arson attacks targeting the mosques in Germany. The conclusion of the report was that the attacks had become frequent, and that suspects could not be arrested.

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Michele Bachmann: Obama embraced ‘agenda of Islamic jihad’

Michele BachmannOutgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) says President Obama has embraced the “agenda of Islamic jihad” at every turn.

“I have been very surprised, to answer your question, to see the president of the United States, at every turn, cut the legs off of our ally Israel, and in fact embrace and lift up the agenda of Islamic jihad,” she said in an interview released Wednesday with “Washington Watch“, a radio show produced by the socially conservative Family Research Council.

Bachmann criticized the president for writing to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to encourage a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program. “This really is a spiritual battle that we’re dealing with,” she added. “And while the president continues to say that this is not about the religion of Islam, I beg to differ.”

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President praises Germans on refugees amid rallies


Germany’s president on Wednesday praised his compatriots’ willingness to take in refugees and said he is glad that most people don’t want to “seal Germany off,” a message that comes as growing anti-Islam demonstrations in an eastern city have worried many.

President Joachim Gauck’s Christmas message didn’t mention directly the rallies in Dresden organized by a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA. But he said society “needs its citizens to respect each other and to heed each other, day in, day out.”

Mainstream German politicians have been divided between outright condemnation of the rallies and saying that demonstrators’ concerns should be taken seriously. Immigration has emerged as a contentious topic lately in Germany, partly due to a sharp rise in asylum applications, particularly from Syrians.

Gauck said he wanted to tell those “worried by developments in the world” not to be afraid. “Taking fears seriously does not mean giving in to them,” he said.

He praised Germans’ “great willingness … to take in refugees” and said it was encouraging “that the vast majority of us do not share the views of those who want to seal Germany off.”

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French radio station backs Zemmour

Eric Zemmour RTLA leading French radio station said Tuesday it will continue working with polemicist Eric Zemmour despite his controversial comments about Muslims that led to him getting the boot from a TV channel.

“Democracy means accepting and allowing the confrontation of ideas,” RTL radio wrote in a statement, adding that it would never let its editorial decisions to be dictated by others “whatever pressures it may face”.

Zemmour currently appears twice weekly on an RTL current affairs programme and has been working with the station since 2010.

The announcement comes after television news channel iTele said Friday it would cancel a show Zemmour appears on as a commentator following the controversy stirred up by his statements to an Italian newspaper.

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Jewish students’ organisation sues French magazine for inciting anti-Muslim hatred

Valeurs actuelles cover

This is the notorious September 2013 cover of the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles.

As we reported at the time, to its credit the Union des étudiants juifs de France (UEJF) began legal proceedings against the magazine’s editorial director for incitement to racial hatred, on the grounds that the cover “contains an explicit exhortation to commit acts of discrimination or violence … against Muslims”.

The Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France draws our attention to the fact that the UEJF’s complaint came up in court last week. The UEJF is asking the court to impose a €5000 fine and €1 in symbolic damages. The case will be heard in February.

Éric Zemmour sacked over anti‑Muslim comments

Marine Le Pen denounces Zemmour sacking
Front National leader Marine Le Pen denounces Zemmour’s sacking

France has been split down the middle by the sacking of the nation’s favourite – and at the same time most detested – hard-right, Islamophobe misogynist.

Éric Zemmour was dismissed by the 24-hour news channel i-Télé after telling – or seeming to tell – an Italian journalist that France’s estimated five million Muslims should be “deported”  to avoid “chaos and civil war”.

The channel’s decision was approved by anti-racist groups and some left-wing politicians. It was lambasted by senior figures on the right of French politics – who adore Zemmour – but also by some on the left – who detest him – on the basis of his right to free speech.

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German Council of Jews chairman condemns ‘immensely dangerous’ PEGIDA movement

Josef SchusterIn light of recent marches by the controversial PEGIDA movement, Germany’s Central Council of Jews (ZdJ) has come to the defense of Muslims in Germany. Chairman Josef Schuster has warned to not underestimate the group.

The newly-elected chairman of the council, Josef Schuster, said in Saturday’s edition of the German newspaper Die Welt that fear of Islamistic terrorism is being “exploited” to vilify an entire religion. “This is completely unacceptable,” said Schuster.

“Of course Islamist extremism needs to be taken as seriously as other extremist trends,” he said, “But the security authorities have long been aware.”

To draw the conclusion from so few Islamists that Islam is going to become Germany’s state religion, is “as absurd as when we conclude that, due to the existence of right-wing extremism, the Nazi dictatorship will be rebuilt tomorrow,” Schuster added.

At the same time, however, Schuster expressed his deep concerns over the demonstrations led by PEGIDA, which loosely translates as the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” and warned against underestimating the movement. They are “immensely dangerous,” he said.

“Here, neo-Nazis, parties from the far-right and citizens who think that they can finally let out their racism and xenophobia are all mixed together,” Schuster said.

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Ad targeting Islam to go before judge

AFDI Islamic Jew Hatred ad

You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Can an ad proclaim “Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran” on a crowded bus?

That’s the free-speech issue before U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg in Philadelphia, who soon will have to decide whether a private group’s ad targeting the Quran and seeking to “end all aid to Islamic countries” can appear on SEPTA’s buses, trains, shelters, and kiosks.

Defenders of the ad say it falls into one of the First Amendment’s most preciously protected categories: public-issue speech.

SEPTA general counsel Gino Benedetti acknowledged the importance of free speech but took a different approach during testimony before the judge Wednesday. Benedetti said he rejected the ad in the fall because of its potential to cause harm and incivility in a transit system that serves and employs Muslims among its one million daily customers and 9,000 employees.

The ad, he said, “puts all Muslims in a single bucket as hating Jews. . . . My common understanding is that not every Muslim hates a Jew. I thought it was portraying Muslims in a harmful, injurious way.”

Produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the ad features a photograph of a 1941 meeting between Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist who made radio broadcasts supporting the Nazis.

Cofounded in 2010 by conservative commentators Pamela Geller and Richard Spencer, AFDI is a nonprofit incorporated in New Hampshire. Its mission statement says it opposes the “treason [of] government officials, mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.”

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Survey: About one third of Germans supportive of anti-Islam rallies

Pegida DresdenAbout one third of Germans are supportive of the demands of burgeoning anti-Islam rallies, according to survey findings released Friday, as Berlin puzzles over how to stem the rising tide of anger over refugee arrivals.

The latest weekly rally in the eastern city of Dresden on Monday brought out 15,000 supporters of Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of the Occident (Pegida), an anti-foreigner group.

Although Pegida is perceived as channelling attitudes of people in Germany‘s formerly communist east, a breakdown of the data by pollster YouGov showed there was not much east-west difference in responses to it.

Asked if it was “good that someone draws attention to mistakes in political asylum policies and opposes Islamists,” which is how Pegida presents its stance, 36 per cent of easterners and 33 per cent of westerners agreed.

The pollsters interviewed 1,025 Germans and adjusted the findings to be representative of the whole German population over 18.

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