The German Islamic advocacy group Ditib (Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs [Turkish: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı; German: Türkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion]) is actually a department or bureau of the Turkish government. It likes to throw its weight around in internal German affairs, and is able mobilize many thousands of Turkish citizens to vote or demonstrate in accordance with its wishes.
The following article concerns the anti-Christmas activism of Ditib-related groups. Many thanks to MissPiggy for translating this article from The Berliner Morgenpost, which was published in January of 2017:
Islam Association Ditib members campaigning against Christmas
The Ditib Association, which oversees numerous Islamic preachers in Germany. Some of its members have been ranting against Christmas.
January 6, 2017
by Jens Meyer-Wellmann
Hamburg. The upheavals in Turkey have now reached Germany. Groups similarly close to the Erdogan government, members of the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institution for Religion (Ditib) in Germany have recently created a massive campaign against Christian Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. The association distanced itself from the action.
Ditib financially supports mosques and in Hamburg, for example, partners with the city in a contract with the Muslim federations, which mean it also has influence on the instruction regime at the schools. On social media images were also spread by Ditib organisations in which a presumably Muslim man is depicted beating up a Santa Claus. As the news agency dpa reports, the pictures also appeared on Facebook pages of Ditib associations in North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg.
Christmas represents the unbelief of Christians
Christmas stands for the unbelief of Christians, it is said, for example, in various texts that are spread in connection with such images. The term “Kuffar” is also used in this context: Unbelievers / opponents of God. “This is the same vocabulary that the ISIS uses,” the Islamism expert and author Ahmad Mansour (“Generation Allah”) told the Abendblatt. The fact that such images are also disseminated by Ditib-related organizations is “a bad sign”.
After all, Ditib is Hamburg’s partner in Salafism prevention. CDU faction leader André Trepoll accused the Ditib representatives of “opposing our society with their open rejection of Christian and legal holidays in Germany”. SPD member of parliament for citizenship Kazim Abaci said that the behavior of Ditib members made him “speechless”. Green Party leader Michael Gwosdz called the widespread pictures “completely tasteless”.
The New Year’s Eve celebrations are also criticised
The religious authority of Turkey, which also provides Ditib-Imame with sermons for Friday prayers, sent out a text at the end of the year criticizing the New Year’s Eve festival. The celebration is impermissible for Muslims, does not fit in the way of life of believers, and belongs to other cultures, according to the opinion. The sermons had also been controversially discussed in Turkey after the New Year’s Eve assassination in Istanbul. Ditib-Nord chief Sedat Şimşek asserted that these sermons had not been given in Germany.
The author Ahmad Mansour also accused the Red-Green Senate of “naïveté” in dealing with Islamism. “Hamburg is particularly naïve on the subject,” Mansour told the Hamburger Abendblatt. “Because a contract has been signed with the associations, all problems are ignored. Teachers in Hamburg hardly dare to address these issues — because they do not want to be classified as racists or Islam opponents.”
Frequent agitation against Christian festivals
“Agitation against Christian festivals and Western values occurs every year,” says Mansour. “What is new, however, is that what used to come only from Islamists is now also supported and disseminated by the Turkish government and its religious authority. This is a completely new quality, on the basis of which Ditib must also be reassessed in Germany.” Sermons against New Year’s Eve and agitation against Christmas massively hindered integration in Germany, according to Mansour.
“They plunge young people into serious identity conflicts and make them vulnerable to Islamism. I would expect Ditib to make it clear to young people that no one should take precedence over anyone else.”
“These Ditib representatives are opposing our society”
Hamburg CDU faction leader André Trepoll also sharply criticized the action. “These Ditib representatives are opposing our society with their open rejection of Christian and legal holidays in Germany,” said Trepoll. “Their aggressive appeals to the members of their communities are not compatible with our basic values of tolerance and respect for other religions, and contribute to the non-integration of Muslim citizens through conscious demarcation,” said the CDU politician.
“Designations of Christians and Jews in our country as ‘unbelievers’ by some Ditib representatives are completely out of the question and testify to a religious claim to sole representation that has no place in our pluralistic society. How can such an institution at the same time be a partner in the fight against Salafism in Hamburg and still receive public grants in return?”
Ditib to review statements made on social media outlets
The chairman of Ditib Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, Sedat Şimşek, said: “These pointed statements by Ditib employees in the social networks against New Year’s Eve or Christmas are isolated cases. They are being examined by us. If cases of disparagement emerge, then we will crack down against them.”
Ditib rejects every form of defamation of customs, traditions and celebrations, according to Şimşek. “However, it must always be checked beforehand whether any criticism of a custom also constitutes contempt. As a Muslim umbrella organisation rooted in this society, we are always guided by the idea of tolerance, mutual esteem and acceptance”.
Criticism of “lavish New Year’s Eve celebrations”
The sermon sent out by the Turkish religious authority only criticized “the wastefulness of New Year’s Eve celebrations,” according to the Ditib Nord chairman. “Since many humans in the world suffer from hunger and war, we can understand the criticism of such wastefulness,” said Şimşek. “However, the respect for other customs and traditions would also have to be stressed more.”