CAIRO - Demonized in media as violent people, Muslim Salafis in Germany are defending their right to protest against far-rightists lampooning Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
We don't throw any bombs," Malik, a young German Muslim, told Der Spiegel Online on Tuesday, May 15.
Malik joined his two Muslim friends; Koray and Martin, in a protest in Cologne against far-right Pro NRW party supporters, who carried cartoons lampooning the Prophet.
The far-right party, which has been categorized as an extremist right-wing group by the domestic intelligence agency, had planned to run a Muhammad cartoon contest', referring to the Prophet.
A cash prize was also designed for the "best" anti-Islamic caricature, named after Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was responsible for the 2005 cartoons which provoked anger in the Muslim world.
Angered by the cartoons, young Salafis say that they joined the protest to defend the Prophet against satire.
"On the Day of Judgment, perhaps the Prophet will ask: 'Where were you when the name of the Prophet was defiled?' Malik argued.
I don't want to have to reply: 'Oh envoy of Allah, I am one of those who looked the other way.
The protest came days after 29 policemen were injured in clashes between Salafis and Pro-NRW supporters in Bonn, which sparked anger from German politicians.
"Salafis want to replace the democratic constitutional order with a theocracy, said Wolfgang Bosbach, a domestic security expert with the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
That's why Salafism and democracy are simply incompatible."
But the inflammatory tone was shocking to Malik and his young Salafi colleagues.
"The dignity of the Prophet is more important to us than our own dignity," he told Der Spiegel.
The three young Muslims dismiss the view drawn by the media about them as violent people.
Martin, a 19-year-old typical German with blonde hair who reverted to Islam about a year ago, is studying environmental engineering in Hamburg.
Koray, 19 like Martin, was born in Hamburg to parents from Turkey.
He is attending an upper-level commercial school and eventually plans to attend the university.
Malik, a 22-year-old whose father is from Algeria and his mother is German, has a high-school diploma and wants to obtain the higher education entrance qualification.
Leading a pious life, the three men already feel bullied and disadvantaged by passersby, teachers, fellow students, bosses and coworkers.
They view the cartoon of the Prophet carrying a bomb in his turban as part of a series of humiliations against Muslims that has continued for years.
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.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."