CAIRO - Muslim organizations in Germany have withdrawn from a government sponsored anti-terror campaign in protest at a poster campaign which they say puts all Muslims under general suspicion.
"Again and again, the Security Partnership presents us - as partners working in cooperation - with decisions that have already been made, Muslim groups said in a written protest, The Local newspaper reported on Saturday, September 1.
It stirs up destructive arguments instead of constructive solutions.Muslim Integration Reignites German Debate
Muslims' anger followed a poster campaign aimed at publicizing a counseling centre that people can turn to if they think people close to them are showing signs of radicalization.
The posters resemble those put up to try to find missing people and show a young person with accompanying messages from people concerned about the subject being a victim of such radicalization.
"This is our son Ahmad," says one example, while another mentions Hassan, a third Fatima and the fourth, Tim.
The text talks of missing the subject of the poster; them having become withdrawn and more radical, and the fear of losing them to religious fanatics and terror groups.
The protesting groups included including the Turkish-Islamic Union and the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers.
The written protest also included the Central Council of Muslims in Germany and the Islamic Community of Bosniaks.
Anti-discrimination groups as well as the Green party have also complained that the posters show people who appeared to be Muslims in a profile pose, as though on a wanted poster.
They voiced general criticism of the Security Partnership, which was created to help curb religious extremism.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said he regretted the withdrawal of the groups, saying he hoped they would return to the security partnership with the government.
His spokesman said the minister had been surprised at the criticism, claiming that the organizations who complained had given their approval to the campaign.
Supporting the Muslim groups, German politicians rejected the inciting campaign.
"You should really make a poster saying 'Missing: One interior minister who can do his job', Rhineland-Palatinate's state integration commissioner Miguel Vicente, said.
Green party co-leader Cem Ãzdemir also criticized the ministry for not abandoning the campaign.
Ãzdemir's party colleague Renate KÃ¼nast accused the minister of behaving like "a bull in a China shop".
Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.
Germany's daily Der Spiegel had warned last August that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.
According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer "a Germany without Islam."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net