As we reported last week, a proposal by a Salafist group in Germany to give away 25 million Korans has caused discussion and controversy in the German media. Even though the Korans would be in German — and therefore not “proper” Korans — there is concern that recipients who throw their free Korans into the garbage, or burn them, or otherwise handle them in a non-halal fashion, may be subjected to reprisals.
Below is a roundup of German news stories on Abu Nagie and his Koran giveaway, as translated by Hermes. First, from Focus Online:
Police union warns about the distribution of Korans
“Hard hand of the state” against Salafis
The Chief of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, calls for a “hard hand of the state” against the Salafists. According to Horst Seehofer, “political and constitutional methods” must be implemented.
The campaign of handing out free Korans (Its naming: “Read!”) by Salafist extremists in Germany provides fuel for further outrage at police and political circles. Following this, Rainer Wendt (55), head of the German Police Union (DPolG), calls for a “hard hand of the state” against the Salafists who are behind the controversial action.
Wendt told the Newspaper “Bild” on Monday that: “When activists go to the streets, they must have this clearly in mind: Every step they take is being monitored, and if they exceed a legal limit, they will feel the fist of the state on them”. The state cannot tolerate that “Salafis make propaganda for extremist goals on behalf of religious freedom and stop journalists from doing their work of coverage. “
The problem is the proselytization about radical Islam
The Minister President of Hessen, Volker Bouffier (CDU) declared to Bild that: “The problem is not the distribution of the Koran, the problem is the goal of this action, which is proselytization about a radical and anti-democratic form of Islam” Only education and information works against this. Bouffier warned against overlooking it or ignoring the aspirations of the Salafists. “We must trivialize nothing. People need to know who and what is really behind this action, “continued the conservative politician.
Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) told the online edition of newspaper Bild regarding the Quran campaign: “Germany is a Christian-oriented country and will remain so. This is a special duty for the Christian parties. I will make the aggressive proselytizing of radical Islamist Salafists a topic at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting. This must be counteracted in political and constitutional ways. We cannot simply go back to the normal daily agenda.”
Another article from Focus Online:
Threatening video against Salafists — Security forces fear escalation
The situation around the radical Islamic Salafist threat continues to escalate. After the appearance on the internet of a threatening video against journalists who had reported critically about the Islamists, another video has also appeared, but this time directed against a Salafist living in Hessen. The origin of the video is unknown.
After the appearance of the threatening video against journalists who had reported critically about the radical Islamic Salafists, the security forces fear the escalation of events after the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported on Saturday that a video allegedly produced by the extreme right directed against a Salafist living in Hessen had appeared on the internet. The video calls indirectly for taking justice on one’s own hand. In the video, a blood-stained knife was allegedly seen together with the address of the Salafist and a message about “going to visit him at that given address”.
The National Criminal Office of Hessen confirmed to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the issue was being investigated. It could not be ruled out that the authors of the video came from right-wing circles. Taking into consideration this report, it will also be investigated whether this video was recorded by Islamists themselves in order to make more propaganda. A spokesman for the police headquarters in Southern Hessen – Darmstadt confirmed on Friday evening to the DPA news agency the existence of a video, which needed to be examined more accurately.
The Koran initiative has spread to Switzerland. According to Die Welt:
Muslims want to distribute the Koran in Switzerland
Muslims in Switzerland will hand over 14,000 copies of the Koran to passersby. The Islamic Council of Switzerland stayed away from the action, declaring that: “The Koran is not a flyer.”
After the controversial distribution of free copies of the Koran in Germany, Muslims have announced similar actions in Switzerland. 14,000 copies of the Koran are to be handed over during the next weeks to passersby in the towns of Zurich, Basel, Aargau, St. Gallen and Winterthur. This is what the Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported in Sunday. These copies would come from stocks in a print office in Ulm, copies already supplied to Muslims for their distribution campaign in the Federal Republic.
Having learned from the sometimes violent incidents in the neighboring country, those in Switzerland involved in this action want to act in a more diplomatic way, the newspaper reported. In Germany the distribution campaign was organized by the group called “True Religion”, which is listed among the radical Islamic Salafists. Swiss Koran distributors said they would act independently of their co-religionists in Germany.
Less intrusive than Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) kept itself away from the action: “The handing-over method does not make sense for us,” Spokesman Naim Cherni told the newspaper. “The Koran is not a flyer.”
On the other hand, Hisham Maizar, president of the moderate federation Umbrella for Islamic Organizations in Switzerland (FIDS), said that most of the young Quran distributors represent no Islamist threat. Moreover, it is less intrusive to spread the Koran on the streets than “as if a Jehovah Witness were knocking on the door with a Bible in his hand.”
Back to Germany — another article from Die Welt:
Radical preacher’s benefits may be reduced
The controversial Salafist Abu Nagie has received €100,000 euros from the state up until now. Resistance to this situation is growing: the CSU, the police union and job centers want to cut financial benefits directed to him.
Politics and police tolerate no more thousands of euros from the Hartz IV welfare program being given to the Islamist Ibrahim Abu Nagie. “No more money from the government for a hate preacher! It is nonsense that we spend money for the surveillance and (also for the) maintenance of Ibrahim Abu Nagie,” Rainer Wendt, head of the German police union told the Bild newspaper.
The CSU expert of interior affairs Stephan Mayer calls for a review of government benefits. “If someone roams through the country engaging in hate-speech and putting into question the free democratic order, one has to check whether a statutory amendment is required to deny state subsidies to that extremist.”
Abu Nagie reported to have received €100,000
According to the newspaper Bild, this father of three has lived for five years on €1860 per month plus child-support money. The final calculation would give a total of €100,000 euros received from the authorities.
The job center in charge has been for long looking for ways and means to slash the income of Abu Nagie. In this way, according to Bild, his housing subsidy for his townhouse in a middle-class outlying district of Cologne was already curtailed. In case of abuse of benefits, the employment agency could even claim back money if too much has been paid out.
Abu Nagie blamed the state for having to live on welfare money. He declared to the newspaper Bild that until 2007 he allegedly had a business dedicated to the production of self-adhesive films. “Back then I should have had to pay an extra of €70,000 euros but I didn’t do it as a matter of principle, and then the government made my company go bankrupt…”
Propaganda of the Salafist
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution sees in the weeks-long campaign for the distribution of free Korans initiated by Abu Nagie a propaganda offensive by the Salafists in order to recruit followers. The distribution taking place in pedestrian zones is being financed, according to the Salafists, through donations and the selling of Korans to muslims.
Salafis are followers of a fundamentalist branch of Islam. According to security authorities, they seek the recognition of an Islamic theocracy, which is incompatible with Western democracy. Therefore, in individual cases they engage in the use of force to make their ideology prevail. The estimate of the authorities is that some 4,000 individuals belonging to Salafist circles in Germany.