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.

The report of the committee has been prepared according to data received from German authorities. The report announced that a total of 297 mosque attacks have been carried out between 2001 and 2011, and 78 mosque attacks between 2012 and 2014. This shows an increase to three attacks per month on average.

Onay also said that the mosque attacks have not been carried out in a single region of Germany, but also have spread country wide. “The rise of Islamophobia is obvious. The right wing parties make use of Islamophobia in their campaigns,” he said.

Onay also said that every mosque attack has not been counted as an Islamophobic or a racist attack by German police. Unless the attackers leave swastikas painted on the wall, or other indications of racist feeling, the police do not treat the crimes as Islamophobic.

“Arson attacks on mosques or attacks in which doors and windows are broken have not been counted as Islamophobic or racist attacks,” he said. “But every attack on synagogues in Germany has been evaluated as anti-Semitic or racist.”

Onay said that his party would take necessary steps by submitting this issue to the German Federal Council in the coming months.

According to a study by a German think tank, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 18.2 percent of Germans support measures to prevent Muslim immigrants coming to Germany. The research, conducted between June and September, gathered the views of 1,915 citizens aged between 16 and 95.

Anadolu Agency, 25 December 2014