Interior Minister Faeser has called on Muslim associations to take a clear stance against anti-Semitism. At a meeting of the Islamic Conference in Berlin, she also warned of anti-Muslim sentiment in Germany.
At a meeting of the German Islamic Conference (DIK), Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called on Muslim associations to make a clearer commitment against anti-Semitism. The SPD politician emphasized at the meeting in Berlin that the fight against anti-Semitism must be promoted “even more visibly,” especially by the large Islamic associations.
“Often all it takes is a spark for words of hate to turn into acts of violence,” said the minister. It is not enough to visit a synagogue and take a stand against terror and anti-Semitism there without also communicating this in mosques or “into the communities”. The state must be able to trust that no extremist messages will be spread during Friday sermons in mosques, for example.
criticism of Muslim associations
The DIK conference started today and runs until Wednesday. Its motto is: “Social peace and democratic cohesion: combating anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hostility in times of social division.” The background is the anti-Jewish protests of many Muslims since the beginning of the Middle East conflict.
Islamic associations such as the Turkish-Islamic DITIB and the Central Council of Muslims had drawn sharp criticism for their timid distancing from Hamas terror. However, most Muslims in Germany are rooted in the democratic society, Faeser continued. There are also Muslims and mosque communities who are committed to combating anti-Semitism. Their voice must become louder.
Faeser reiterated that Israel’s security was Germany’s reason of state. The country has the right to defend itself. “There are no ‘buts’ to Hamas’ terrible terrorist attacks. Because this terror despises everything we have in terms of values.”
Islamic conference as a forum for dialogue between the state and Muslims
The German Islam Conference was launched in 2006 by the then Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) as a forum for dialogue between the state and Muslims. Unlike with the Protestant and Catholic Churches and the Central Council of Jews, there were no contracts between the Muslim community and the state until then. The Muslim associations are still not legally equal to the churches, primarily due to their form of organization. According to estimates by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, between 5.3 and 5.6 million Muslims live in Germany.
Faeser denounces anti-Muslim sentiment at
At the same time, the Interior Minister emphasized that Muslims should not be placed under general suspicion. The state is not acting against a religion, but against Islamist terrorism. In this context, Faeser also referred to the anti-Muslim sentiment prevailing in the country. According to this, every second person in Germany agrees with anti-Muslim statements.
“We must not give space to those who declare Muslims to be the cause of all evil,” said Faeser. “Anyone who is now stirring up sentiment against Muslims under the pretext of fighting anti-Semitism wants to divide us, not unite us.” For 2024, she announced increased government measures to curb anti-Muslim sentiment – including better documentation of incidents and contact points for affected Muslims.
Wulff: More solidarity and more empathy
Former Federal President Christian Wulff also commented at the DIK meeting. He called on Muslims to take an honest inventory of anti-Semitic content in Islam. The roots of Muslim hatred of Jews reach deep into the history of the religion and are an integral part of education in many parts of the Islamic world, said Wulff. The Koran partly paints a distorted picture of Judaism.
But out of “inner conviction” he repeated his well-known sentence: “Islam now also belongs to Germany,” Wulff added. With this statement, as then Federal President in 2010, he triggered a social debate and sometimes sharp contradiction. He also appealed to other religions to work together for more cohesion, for more empathy and against egoism.
Dietrich Karl Mäurer, ARD Berlin, tagesschau, November 21, 2023 12:19 p.m