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Mosque Attacks Worry German Muslims

Published: 26/05/2013 12:18:28 AM GMT
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BERN - Facing growing attacks on their mosques by far-rightists, Muslim leaders have urged the German government to take measures to protect their worship places. Attacks against Muslims and their houses of worship have be (more)

BERN - Facing growing attacks on their mosques by far-rightists, Muslim leaders have urged the German government to take measures to protect their worship places.

"Attacks against Muslims and their houses of worship have been increasing for years," Aiman Mazyek, spokesman of the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany (KRM), told World Bulletin website on Friday, May 24."And this shows us that this issue should be addressed not only by security units, but also the whole of society."

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Four mosques in different German states have been attacked since the trial of the terrorist National Socialist Underground (NSU) group began earlier this month.

The trial, in which neo-Nazi suspect Beate Zschäpe and four NSU supporters stand accused of 10 murders, started earlier in May.

In the period between May 10 and May 20, the KRM said 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.

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.”

In Mainz, another attack occurred on May 18, when two unidentified assailants hung anti-Islamic posters on the walls of the mosque.

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 when included arson.

The KRM called for stronger measures and a more determined fight against Islamophobic attacks in Germany, especially during this sensitive period while the NSU trial is ongoing.

Germany is believed to be home to nearly 4 million Muslims, including 220,000 in Berlin alone. Turks make up an estimated two thirds of the Muslim minority.

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.

Rising Extremism

Community leaders urged the German government to take necessary action to help reassure Muslims about their safety.

"We should be more careful now at a time when the NSU trial is ongoing. Muslims should be reassured, too," said Ali Kızılkaya, the head of Germany's Islamic Council (Islamrat).

"The state should adopt a stance that will be a deterrent to the extreme rightists.

He urged the government to take serious measures to stop the surge of far-right groups in the country.

"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."

The danger of right-wing violence has received heightened attention in Germany since November 2011 when two members of a NSU cell were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in the eastern city of Zwickau.

The cell, which had been murdering immigrants for years, was discovered by chance on 2011 by German authorities.

Authorities found that at least nine immigrants, eight Turks and a Greek, and a policewoman were killed by the cell between 2000 and 2000.

Weapons involved in the murders were later found at a burned out house nearby in Zwickau that had been used both by them and by a woman called Beate Zschaepe, who has given herself up.

Germans, burdened by their Nazi past, were horrified by the revelations and Chancellor Angela Merkel had publicly apologized to the families of the murder victims.

A recent study in November showed that right-wing extremism is notably rising in Germany, particularly in the east of the European country.

The study, "The Changing Society: Right-wing Views in Germany 2012", found that the number of Germans identifying themselves has grown.The report indicated that 9 percent of Germans have adopted extreme right-wing beliefs, up from 8.2 percent two years ago.

Reproduced with permission from