Judgment in Parallel

The following TV news report from Germany serves as a video follow-up to the five-part series about Neukölln mayor Heinz Buschkowsky and his new book (see: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). It discusses the evolution of a parallel sharia legal system in the Muslim ghettos of major German cities.

Many thanks to Hermes for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


00:00   In the meantime, a kind of parallel world has developed in the Muslim districts
00:06   of many big German cities, often also with parallel Islamic justice.
00:12   People trust a self-appointed “Peace Judge” more than the German police
00:18   and the German judiciary. In this way crimes ranging from violent acts to attempted murders
00:24   remain unpunished by the German law. Our reporter [name] has met the controversial peace
00:30   judge of Neukölln.
00:34   We want to interview this man, but we meet mistrust. We are filmed
00:40   while filming, an unusual situation. He is neither a dangerous criminal nor a mullah;
00:46   Hassan Alush sees himself as the law, renders judgment and keeps the peace
00:52   in a district of Berlin which has long ago turned into a parallel society. German justice
00:58   no longer has much to say in his territory. Because Hassan Alush is
01:03   the Arab peace judge of Neukölln-Berlin.
01:10   “One cannot live without law, but one needs an iron fist to maintain it.”
01:15   We are there as he mediates in a family dispute. Many migrants here
01:21   no longer trust German justice. So they have organized it for themselves.
01:27   We have founded our own city. Do you know what this means? We founded a city.
01:32   For example, our peace judges. If we have problems, we go to them.
01:36   Basically this is nothing more than the undermining of our constitutional state.
01:41   An Islamic parallel justice has developed in the middle of Berlin, and
01:45   this is his district. Heinz Buschkowsky has been warning of this for a long time.
01:49   What do you have to say about so many peace judges in Berlin?
01:53   I find it truly frightening. This is nothing more than the direct way to anarchy.
01:58   How many parallel societies is Germany coping with?
02:04   Berlin, Neukölln. Almost every second inhabitant has a so-called migration background.
02:09   The level of criminality is twice as high as in other similar districts.
02:14   A reason: the largely Muslim population have long since stopped trusting the German police.
02:20   We meet a youngster who tells us this in a rather blunt way.
02:23   (It’s a) feeling of hate towards all of them. All cops.
02:27   — You feel that? — Yeah, yeah. — Why?
02:30   So it is. Because they are always keeping an eye on me, and on immigrants.
02:34   Always keeping an eye. Even if you do nothing, in the street, they catch you,
02:38   they push you into a corner, pick out the handcuffs, in front of everybody.
02:41   — Seen this already? — Yes, many times. And for me this is not OK.
02:44   Do you respect the German police?
02:46   — No, absolutely not. Let them show respect towards me. — Why?
02:50   What? If they do not have respect towards me, then neither will I have any towards them.
02:55   — Do you respect the peace judges? — Yeah, yeah, absolutely. — Why?
03:00   Yeah, because… they make peace.
03:03   So youngsters like this respect the peace judges.
03:07   We try come into contact with one of them, but this is not so easy,
03:10   because peace judges are very busy in Berlin.
03:15   At 3 p.m. in the [name] Grill, you said? Everything OK.
03:19   Mistrust is part of his job, and the so-called peace judge
03:22   has already had bad experiences with reporters.
03:25   He comes with his daughter who is always with him, and documents
03:29   everything for fear of false reporting by part of the media.
03:33   How long have you been a peacemaker?
03:36   I started with this job in 1990, and from then on I’ve always been a peacemaker,
03:46   and I do everything I can in order to help people, because we live in Germany,
03:51   we want to live here in peace and security.
03:55   OK. The Germans tell you ,for example: we have German justice,
03:58   why do we need peacemakers here?
04:00   OK. For example, I am, if I receive a phone call, no matter at what hour,
04:06   my mobile is 24 hours on, when my mobile rings, and I hear that there are
04:12   problems somewhere, I run there immediately, and I talk with both parties
04:17   in order to calm them, OK? And I bring peace and calmness.
04:24   Hassan Alush considers himself to be a link between German justice
04:29   and his fellow Muslim countrymen, and offers his services for free.
04:33   But he settles the majority of conflicts in circumvention of local laws.
04:37   As for judging, the 58-year-old is tough with his clients. For him,
04:41   German laws are too feeble.
04:44   Far too weak. For example, in such criminal cases as drug trafficking,
04:49   murder or this or that, they get a punishment of 2, 3, 5 years.
04:53   Where do they serve their sentence? In an “open prison” in Spandau-Hakenfelde.
04:59   They must spend the night there, and by day they walk free. This is no prison.
05:03   And the criminals have nothing to worry about, and why?
05:07   His wife and his children get the money, the livelihood, everything
05:12   from the welfare office and the job center, and he says:
05:15   “I do not care, I serve sentence here, and I can continue with my drug business,
05:20   my wife and my children are safe, they get everything.” No, stop this!
05:24   We do not want him in Germany! He must be expelled! Away with him!
05:29   But in spite of, or just because of his attitude, almost every Arab in Berlin
05:35   respects him and has his phone number. This is why a quiet conversation (with him)
05:40   is hardly possible to maintain. He is continually called. A new case.
05:45   The Lebanese-born is not an elected peace judge, but he was born into this position.
05:51   The ancestors of Alush were also mediators in disputes.
05:55   They are highly respected in the Muslim community.
05:58   Among his tasks: mediation and
06:01   arbitration between clans before their disputes escalate, but…
06:05   There are of course situations where he does not help them,
06:08   when he turns off his mobile right away, as for example in cases of terrorism,
06:12   trading in weapons, etc…
06:15   The issues involving protection money are not too difficult for him.
06:18   Here in this slaughterhouse Suleiman al Mustafa works.
06:21   He has been for years extorted by his own countrymen, the protection money mafia.
06:25   As his livelihood was in danger, and he no longer knew what to do,
06:29   he turned to the peace judge.
06:35   What kind of problem did you have?
06:38   Extortion. Those people falsified some things using my name, papers and documents;
06:44   it was about money, here and there, all the time, more than 120,000 euros.
06:51   — So you were extorted for protection money. — Yes
06:54   — Is this normal here in Neukölln? — In Germany, not only in Neukölln. Everywhere.
07:00   Extortion of protection money, a crime punishable in Germany by up to 5 years
07:05   in prison, if punished at all. Many victims have no trust.
07:09   Why don’t you want to go to the police?
07:12   They (the mafia) threatened me and my family, that they would destroy us,
07:17   they would do this or that to us, and this is why one tries to solve this in a peaceful way,
07:24   with money and so on, but in a certain moment things failed.
07:28   — How long have they been extorting you? How long? — More than a year and a half.
07:32   He did not want to go straight to the police, but there was my plan, first I took him
07:36   to the lawyer and afterwards I talked with him once more in order to go to the police
07:41   with the lawyer. And things worked. And since then things have been calm for him.
07:45   How would you see it if someone forbids what he is doing?
07:50   One cannot forbid this, because he is not doing something wrong.
07:55   Just the opposite, he helps people. He is on the side of law, and not against it.
08:02   This father of 2 dared to go to the police only with the help of the peace judge,
08:08   and all parties were satisfied. He is not. Heinz Buschkowsky is the major of this district,
08:14   and doesn’t agree with this sort of problem-solving method. He has been
08:17   warning for a long time about parallel justice.
08:20   When I first talked about the peace judges five or six years ago,
08:26   people began teasing me: “Hey you, you Dumb August [low-class clown],
08:30   what do they look like? Where could we meet with them? And so on…
08:38   The mayor’s much-discussed book “Neukölln ist Überall” is found among the top
08:42   positions in the lists of bestsellers. In it he describes the problematic everyday life
08:46   in his district with a 41% immigrant population.
08:49   He sees the parallel justice as something already long ago established in Neukölln.
08:53   There is the famous example that here in Neukölln there was a shooting openly on a street,
09:00   the police scraped out 60 bullets from the building walls, and there were injured people,
09:07   and all involved in this issue stood in the court figuratively holding each other’s hands,
09:13   they stared at the judge and said: “Mr. Judge, there is nothing to discuss here,
09:18   we have already reached an agreement”. This is what we realize,
09:24   that those involved deal among themselves, whether a shooting, a robbery
09:31   or other different businesses It is often about influence, about a certain proportion
09:41   of immigrants in the organized crime, with free play, that power is handed over to them.
09:51   That is not possible, that means heading directly towards anarchy.
09:57   Berlin Neukölln, Hasenheide — The most conflict-ridden sector of Buschkowsky’s district.
10:00   Whoever lives here has long ago joined the parallel society.
10:04   Robbery, extortion, drug trafficking and violence are part of daily life.
10:08   Section 55 of the police in Neukölln has plenty of work,
10:13   but they have no longer much to say. A situation of anarchy?
10:18   We are put into a hole. They look for places where there are many immigrants,
10:23   they send us right there. Why do they not send us where the Germans are,
10:27   so that we could integrate? This IS integration, but there is nothing about that. It’s a division:
10:34   foreigners — Germans. This is sh**.
10:37   The inhabitants no longer trust politicians and police; they feel that they have been
10:42   left behind. In this way, the gap is already there for the parallel society (to form).
10:46   We have founded our own city. Do you know what this means? We founded a city.
10:50   For example, our peace judges. If we have stress (problems), we go to them, and we say:
10:55   “we have this problem”. Why? We could also go to the police!
10:59   They are trained to protect us! But no, but no, a wound must be inflicted
11:06   so that they can help you. I do not need this kind of sh***y help.
11:10   What is important for me is help coming before something happens to me.
11:14   The German police are seen here not as a friend and a helper, but as the new enemy.
11:19   I tell you something. If someone is killed, then one says: “Oh, what a pity”.
11:24   But if one hears that a police agent has been shot, then: “Oh, that’s fine”
11:31   War declared by those who cause fear. How do police in Berlin deal with these
11:35   developments? Karsten Wendt sees that police work is being hindered.
11:40   From my point of view there are diverse cases where mediators,
11:46   among them also the self-appointed peace judges, have mediated between the parties,
11:51   that is, between the perpetrators of crimes and the victims, without involving the police,
11:58   and sometimes, at the end of the investigation, we do not know what happened,
12:04   because the facts told by the witnesses, by the victims,
12:08   are presented in fairly different ways.
12:11   Joachim Wagner has devoted an entire book to parallel justice in Germany,
12:15   and a chapter to the Arab peace judges.
12:20   In all immigrant districts dominated by Muslims, whether in Berlin,
12:24   in North Rhine-Westphalia, or in Bremen, parallel Islamic justice exists.
12:30   Does this put the German constitutional state in danger?
12:33   One may say that it is wonderful that such traditions are preserved and upheld,
12:37   but this proves fatal as long as they stand in opposition to our constitutional state,
12:43   because they have such things as the blood revenge, which belongs to it,
12:49   and self-justice, which also belongs to parallel Islamic justice.
12:54   Hassan Alush lives a dangerous life. Because when conflicts are handled without
12:58   the involvement of German justice, then it cannot intervene if something happens.
13:03   The 58-year-old Lebanese has already met with blood revenge
13:08   and self-justice in his environment. He seldom goes to the street without bullet-proof vest,
13:13   and he keeps his address secret. He had to take these measures
13:17   so as not to end like his brother.
13:20   In 2004, somebody punctured the tires of my brother’s car,
13:26   he wanted to take his children to school early in the morning,
13:30   and as he wanted to see what happened to the tires, my brother’s murderer came
13:37   from behind, and shot him three times, twice in the head, and once in the spine.
13:42   — In Berlin? — In Berlin
13:44   The 38-year-old father, executed openly in the street, in Germany.
13:50   He was also a mediator, and he became the target in a family feud
13:55   because he was allegedly partial towards one of the parties.
13:58   Why is Alush a peace judge, when he is risking his life with this job?
14:04   I must always fear those men, and if I have to die because I’m a peace judge, then
14:13   I will die as a martyr for Germany, and I leave the good reputation for my children.
14:21   We do not have a lot of money, but we are respected, because we help other people,
14:27   we are honest and correct.
14:30   Officially, Alush is secondhand car dealer. He says that he receives no money for
14:35   his work as peace judge. Now when everything is solved behind the scenes with no
14:40   involvement by German justice, participants like his brother also become a target,
14:45   and they are defenselessly exposed to the parallel justice, with its own rules.
14:50   The position of Alush has in this way become a thorn not only in the
14:54   side of Arab gangsters, but also in that of German critics.
14:58   I accuse the peace judges of trying to undermine the German law’s entitlement
15:03   to punish. Compared to the peace judges, the German constitutional state must
15:08   be more defensive, it must “show its teeth”, to intervene in those cases
15:13   which need to be handled in order to stop this informal Islamic parallel justice.
15:22   And as this fails to happen, Hassan Alush is in more demand than ever.
15:27   The mosque in Neukölln at Columbiadamm is the biggest of some two dozen in Berlin.
15:32   Today, a funeral service is taking place here. The deceased is the father of this man.
15:37   A natural death.
15:43   Today we have a funeral, and we have no strength to deal with this,
15:47   Hassan is always there for us.
15:50   This is another of the duties of a peace judge. Gestures like this are those which
15:55   make him earn respect among his fellow countrymen. He is there for them,
15:59   in every situation in life. Helping community members to deal with grief,
16:04   or with family conflicts. In Arab culture, the family is paramount.
16:13   The involvement of strangers is taboo and is the equivalent of a loss of honor.
16:18   To be allowed to be here is almost like being present at a confession (in church),
16:22   because the family problems are the most intimate issues in the Islamic society.
16:28   In this case it was about four children who were taken away from their biological parents.
16:34   A classic dispute over custody rights, which he has handled as a social worker.
16:40   He helped us to come out of the social center… he has helped us…
16:47   So you were brought to the center, and dad helped you to come out so that
16:52   — you all can be together with grandma and grandpa. — Yes
16:56   Even the most difficult cases are solved easily and quickly in the
17:01   company of tea and pastries. This is what goes on among the families.
17:06   The authorities sit in their offices, and talk for one, two, five minutes:
17:13   “yes, we take care”. I don’t know whether they take care properly or not,
17:18   but I run, and run, and run,
17:22   especially in a case like this, because it affects four children.
17:26   Not only are German authorities not welcomed here,
17:29   police action would also make things worse.
17:36   When somebody from the other side calls the police, and a complaint is filed,
17:40   then the situation escalates, and more anger arises, but if the peace judge comes,
17:45   then issues are solved in a 99.9% of the cases.
17:50   Hassan Alush deals daily with such issues, from relatively harmless family problems
17:56   to honor killing, and he makes his needs clear.
17:59   I do everything I can in order to help people so that we can all live in peace.
18:06   And what do I ask for from the state? An office, and a car with a blue light,
18:11   a helper from the state, and they have to accept me entirely. I’ve been doing this
18:17   already for 20 years. Goodbye and have a peaceful life.
18:22   Here ends our filming work with the peace judge from Neukölln.
18:26   He must continue. He says that he has never had so much to do.
18:31   A serious dialogue between the German authorities and Hassan Alush
18:36   has unfortunately still not taken place.

2 thoughts on “Judgment in Parallel

  1. Interesting that Hassan Alush neglected to mention that honour killings of women are also a part of self-administered Islamic justice.

  2. I have said it before, I shall say it again.
    If it ‘their’ city, then we should not provide them with the fruits of our labours: Water, Electricity, Social Services and cash.
    Let them have their cities, with borders and boundries and see how long they cope alone.

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