German Deputy Chancellor Calls for Ban On A Radical Islamic Movement

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German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel in a search for effective counterterrorism measures is considering a ban on the Salafi movement, a particular ultra-conservative branch of the religion that has been also criticized by moderate Muslims.

“Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and the preachers should be expelled as soon as possible,” Chancellor Gabriel told “Der Spiegel”.

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“Those who encourage violence do not enjoy the protection of religious freedom,” the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) added. He also stressed that he had “zero tolerance” in combating Islamism.

German Social Democrat rejected the notion of counterterrorism that is reduced to military and intelligence measures pointing at its cultural dimension. “If we are serious about the fight against Islamism and terrorism, then it must also be a cultural fight,” Gabriel stated.

This means strengthening the cohesion of society and ensuring that “urban areas are not neglected, villages do not fall into disrepair and people do not become more and more radicalized,” the vice chancellor added.

Prominent Muslim magazine The Islamic Monthly warned that “Salafists are not just ultraconservatives; they can also be identified with terrorist organizations such as “al Qaeda.””

Moderate Muslims often accuse Salafists of distorting Islam. “The assumption of the title “Salafis” by Muslims in the 21st century of the common era reeks of arrogance inappropriate for a religion that preaches humility before God,” wrote Stephen Schwartz from Center for Islamic Pluralism, a think-tank that is defending Moderate Islam in the United States.

The Islamic Monthly, author Deonna Kelli Sayed identified Salafis as a key threat to Islam in Chechnya describing them as an “alien” presence guilty of “well-funded cultural imperialism.

“Ultraconservative Muslims vying to define the new order according to 7th century religious traditions rather than earthly realities,” Robin Wright, a distinguished scholar at the USIP-Woodrow Wilson Center, emphasized. She argued, in her New York Times article, that Salafis, not “all Islamists,” were who we should fear.

Gabriel’s call coincides with the Australian One Nation senator and leader Pauline Henson suggestion to implement even tougher measures against radicals, including introducing ban on Islam.

(Der Spiegel, pht)


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