Salafists - Koran distribution in Germany & Islamic conference

Salafists - Koran distribution in Germany and Islamic conference

15 Years ago: Whether it is pure coincidence or even conscious scheduling at the same time, the Salafists have achieved at least one partial goal, namely media-effective publicity and topic of conversation, in time for the beginning of the Islamic conference in Germany with the free distribution of copies of the Koran.

And even if the activities were not included as an item on the agenda at the Islamic Conference, they were always the number one topic of conversation.

At the beginning of this year's Islamic Conference, Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) condemned the actions of radical Salafists in Germany. “Religious freedom is a valuable asset.” But they are not concerned with the distribution of the Koran. "The Salafists don't want to promote a religion, but rather an ideology."

The chairman of the Turkish community in Germany, Kenan Kolat, said before the start of the deliberations: "The Salafists have simple answers to difficult questions, like the racists." They have to be fought against socially, but that is not the task of the Islamic Conference. The conference had already issued a statement on security issues in 2009.

“Distribution of the Koran is the wrong keyword,” said Federal Office for the Protection spokesman Bodo W. Becker to the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. “This is about Salafist propaganda and the recruitment of followers. The Koran is just a vehicle.”

What are Salafists? What goals are you pursuing? The following explanation can be found from Wikipedia:

koran verteilung 01The term Salafism refers to the return to the “ancestors” (Arabic Salaf: “ancestors”) and, in current usage, an ultra-conservative current within Islam. The term is also used to describe certain currents of Sunni Islam that, according to their self-image, are based on the time of the “ancestors”. The contemporary trends include, on the one hand, the students of Muhammad Abduh, who advocate the compatibility of Islam and modernity, and, on the other hand, conservative tendencies that refer to Ibn Taimiya and reject not only modernity, but also developments in Islamic theology and religious practice, such as for example, traditions of certain schools of law or Sufism.

A distinction is made between purist Salafism, which is limited to regulating private areas of life, and political Salafism. The latter minority of Salafists follows a violent jihadist ideology, which, according to the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, is incompatible with a free, democratic basic order. (Wikipedia)

During the Interior Ministers' Conference in June 2011, the German Interior Minister already issued warnings about the dangers of neo-fundamentalist Salafism, which unfortunately all too often forms a breeding ground for Islamist terrorism. All Islamist terrorists of September 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in history, belonged to the Salafist movement, including the three suicide bombers from the Hamburg cell.

koran verteilung 02According to his own research, the Islamic scholar Benno Kopfer has counted a following of three to five thousand Salafists in Germany. It is precisely here that Islamic organizations and associations such as the “Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany” and the “Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion” (DITIB) have special tasks in curbing Salafism through prevention. Muslim organizations in particular should, in the self-interest of their credibility, help ensure that the destructive activities of neo-fundamentalist Salafists are noticed and explained as such within their own ranks. One of the previous preachers, the German convert Pierre Vogel, who belongs to the “Invitation to Paradise” association, is particularly noticeable on the Internet because of his video sermons. The way he and other members of his club, all of whom are Salafists, proclaim discrimination against women or homosexuals can hardly be tolerated anymore. It is not without reason that he is being watched by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The sharp increase in the missionary activities of extremist Salafist preachers should wake up all citizens and lead to counter-protests. It is not the distribution of a free copy of the Koran that is the intention of the Salafists. There are only intensified efforts by the extremists to “create paths to conversion/switch to Salafist-style Islam in order to promote further spread”.

This is particularly true for extremist Salafist preachers such as Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, who heads this campaign to distribute free copies of the Koran that has been running for months. And this despite distribution bans in numerous cities, which his helpers simply circumvent. Similar activities are also planned in Switzerland.

Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution criticizes the distribution of the Koran (Frankfurter Rundschau)

koran verteilung 03The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution criticizes the distribution of millions of copies of the Koran by radical Islamic Salafists. The printing company is now also considering canceling the order and the printing presses are at a standstill.

The machines at the Ulm printing company Ebner & Spiegel have been idle since Thursday. The company has printed more than 300,000 Korans in the past six months - on behalf of a radical Islamic organization from Cologne that wants to distribute the books of God free of charge throughout Germany.

A total of 25 million Korans are to be brought to the people in this way. Several hundred thousand are said to have already been distributed in pedestrian zones.

Now, however, leading Union politicians have sharply criticized the action of the organization “The True Religion” run by the Cologne businessman Ibrahim Abou Nagie. “The Koran is needed here for extremist activities,” said Union parliamentary group leader Volker Kauder (CDU) in Berlin.

koran verteilung 04Muslim associations in Germany have rightly distanced themselves from this action. His Union colleague Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU) went one step further and demanded that the activities of the growing Salafist movement in Germany be urgently stopped.

Politicians from the SPD, FDP and Greens also expressed concern. There is nothing wrong with Korans being distributed free of charge. However, there is a risk that young people in particular would come into contact with the Salafist group. Green Party leader Cem Özdemir, himself a Muslim, criticized the newspaper Die Welt: “It is obvious that the strategy of this action is to present itself as a mouthpiece for Muslims and to propagate the supposedly only true Islam. You can’t let the Salafists get away with this.”

In a YouTube video, suspected Salafists insulted a journalist from the Frankfurter Rundschau and threatened that his telephone number and address would be published if he continued to report critically on the activities of the Salafists in Germany. The approximately four-minute film can no longer be seen on YouTube. The public prosecutor's office is investigating the case.

According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, there is nothing objectionable to the widespread translation of the Koran. Although it is not the most modern, it is a moderate translation of the Muslim book of faith. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution still sees the action as evidence that the Salafists want to appear much more aggressive in public.

For about two years, the Salafists, who represent a particularly strict interpretation of Islam, have been propagating their views with various regional groups, mostly via the Internet. They are seeing increasing popularity, particularly from young men who are looking for meaning.

koran verteilung 05The President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Heinz Fromm, warned in the summer: “Not every Salafist is a terrorist, but all terrorists were Salafists.”

The Koran distribution in Germany has been running since October. It is financed by Abou Nagie, who styles himself as a harmless businessman, but according to German security authorities is a religious agitator and propagates Salafism.

The Ulm printing company wants to check by Monday whether it can still fulfill the print order and what consequences a cancellation of the order would have. “The political dimension is new for us. We don’t want to get involved,” said a spokesman.

(Frankfurter Rundschau with dpa)

Also read: In the sights of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution

Ibrahim Abou-Nagie is the head of an initiative that is currently causing a stir nationwide. He distributes the Koran in German translation in major cities, and 250,000 books have already been given away or sold.

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