Vandalism, Threats to Mosques on Rise in Germany

15:08 - August 10, 2023
News ID: 3484721
BERLIN (IQNA) – Muslim community leaders in Germany say mosques across the country are facing an increase in vandalism, harassment and threats.

Mosque in Germany


Kemal Ergun, president of the Turkish-Muslim group IGMG, said more mosques have received threatening letters in recent weeks, signed with the neo-Nazi alias “NSU 2.0.”

“We will not get scared, we will not be intimated by such threats. But it’s disappointing that in most of the arson attempts on mosques, which could claim many lives, the perpetrators were not identified or arrested,” he said.

“NSU 2.0” refers to the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi terror group uncovered in 2011 that murdered 10 people and carried out bomb attacks targeting Turkish and Muslim immigrants.

According to official statistics, there were 124 attacks on Muslims in the first three months of 2023, including verbal and physical assaults, threatening letters, and arson attacks targeting mosques.

Ergun has called on authorities to thoroughly investigate such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice. He also called for a stronger stance against anti-Muslim hatred and right-wing extremism.

“Unfortunately, racism is a reality in Germany. Latest polls show that the racist and fascist political party (the AfD) has become the second-biggest party in the country. This alone shows that we are heading towards a dangerous period,” he said.

A new poll last week placed the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in second place, ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats.

Burhan Kesici, chairman of the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany, told Anadolu that politicians from democratic parties should stand-up to right-wing populism and counter their Islamophobic messages.

“We expect from political authorities to extend their support to Muslim community. They should underline in their public speeches that Muslims are part of this country, and they’re not a threat to our society,” he said.

Kesici also proposed stronger security measures by police to protect mosques and Islamic institutions.

In recent years, Germany has witnessed an increase in racism and Islamophobia, fueled by the propaganda of neo-Nazi groups and the far-right AfD, which exploited the refugee crisis and attempted to instill immigrants fear.

According to the latest data, police registered at least 610 Islamophobic hate crimes in 2022 across the country.

Some 62 mosques were attacked between January and December last year, and at least 39 people were injured because of anti-Muslim violence.

With a population of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 5.3 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.


Source: Anadolu Agency