Four mosques attacked in Germany in 10 days

Islamic associations in Germany have said that four mosques were attacked on 10 consecutive days after the trial of the terrorist National Socialist Underground (NSU) group began and called for stronger measures and a more determined fight against Islamophobic attacks in the country.

The issue of Islamophobia in Germany came to the surface once again with the trial in which neo-Nazi suspect Beate Zschäpe and four alleged supporters of the NSU terrorist group stand accused of 10 murders.

Eight of the victims were Turks, one was a Greek immigrant and the final victim was a German policewoman. The first session of the trial, was held on May 6.

Despite the trial, Islamic associations in Germany claim that attacks against the Muslims in the country have not ceased. The Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany (KRM) has announced that mosques in Bullay, in the Rhineland-Palatinate state, as well as its capital, Mainz; the town of Lengerich in the Steinfurt district and the town of Düren in the district of the same name in North Rhine-Westphalia were attacked between May 10 and May 20.

The attackers wrote on the door of the mosque in Düren on May 20 that, “The NSU is alive and you will be the next victims.” The KRM condemned the incident and demanded that mosques in Germany be better protected during this sensitive period while the NSU trial is ongoing.

In the attack that occurred on May 18, two unidentified assailants hung anti-Islamic posters on the walls of a mosque in Mainz. The other recent attacks on mosques involved stones thrown at mosques and other damage to mosque property.

The KRM also noted that about 30 attacks took place against mosques in 2012. Nine of those attacks included arson. The KRM added that there might be more that they do not know of.

KRM spokesman Aiman Mazyek visited the mosque attacked in Mainz and said that it is time for the state and security units to come together with Muslims and representatives of Muslim associations to discuss how mosques can be better protected. Democracies are supposed to ensure security for places of worship, Mazyek noted.

“Attacks against Muslims and their houses of worship have been increasing for years. And this shows us that this issue should be addressed not only by security units, but also the whole of society,” the spokesman stated.

Speaking of the attacks to Turkish press, Ali Kızılkaya, the head of Germany’s Islamic Council (Islamrat), said that statistics should be gathered specifically for anti-Islamic attacks and it should be made clear how frequently and in what places the attacks take place.

The necessary measures should be taken in light of those statistics, he noted.

“We should be more careful now at a time when the NSU trial is ongoing. Muslims should be reassured, too. The state should adopt a stance that will be a deterrent to the extreme rightists. Once the existence of the NSU murders was revealed, nothing should have been the same again and the state should have fought against the extreme right-wing more seriously and determinedly. Yet, sadly, we have not seen any greater determination to this end,” he noted.

The NSU trial was originally set to begin on April 17 but was postponed until May 6 following a heated debate over press accreditation. The Higher State Court of Munich previously did not allocate seats for Turkish media to follow the trial of five members of the neo-Nazi ring.

In early April, the court reversed that decision after facing harsh criticism and decided to allow some Turkish journalists to attend the hearings.

World Bulletin, 24 May 2013