Germany’s interior minister on Tuesday challenged Muslim associations in Germany to condemn antisemitism without reservation as she reminded the community’s...
Germany’s interior minister on Tuesday challenged Muslim associations in Germany to condemn antisemitism without reservation as she reminded the community’s representatives that support for the State of Israel is a German “raison d’etat” — a non-negotiable element of the country’s foreign policy.
“Whoever wants to become a citizen of this country must know that,” Nancy Faeser declared during a speech to the two-day meeting in Berlin of the German Islamic Conference (DIK) on the theme of “combating antisemitism and anti-Muslim hostility in times of social division.”
The issue of antisemitism among the more than 5.5 million Muslims in Germany has become a national focus in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel. On Monday, Faeser and Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), revealed that a total of 3,532 crimes related to the Hamas onslaught six weeks ago have been reported, most of them perpetrated by Muslims.
Faeser’s speech to the DIK came as police in the southern state of Bavaria carried out raids on the homes of 17 people accused of spreading antisemitic hate speech and threats targeting Jews online. A statement from the Bavarian police provided details on three of the suspects, two of whom are dual citizens of Turkey and Germany. In an example of the venomous rhetoric pushed by the suspects, a message posted by one of them stated that the “sons of the Jews deserve nothing less than to be slaughtered and wiped out.”
In her speech on Tuesday, Faeser observed that “a spark is often enough for words of hatred to become acts of violence.” Calling on the Muslim associations gathered at the conference to combat antisemitism “even more visibly,” she argued that gestures of solidarity, such as visiting synagogues, were not enough, and that the state needed reassurance that extremist messages would not be spread during sermons in the country’s mosques.
Faeser specifically referenced the recent appearance of Abdul Bari Omar, a senior official of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, at a mosque in Cologne affiliated with Ditib, a Turkish-German Islamic association controlled by the Turkish government. “Can you guarantee that something like this will not happen again?” she asked pointedly.
The interior minister also emphasized that Israel has an inherent right to defend itself. “There is no ‘but’ when it comes to the terrible terrorist attacks of Hamas,” she said.
Faeser also spoke out against general bigotry targeting Muslims, expressing concern at the finding of a recent interior ministry report that one in two Germans harbors hostility towards Muslims. “We must not give room to those who declare Muslims to be the cause of all evil,” Faeser stated. “Whoever now creates a mood against Muslims under the pretext of combating antisemitism seeks to divide us.”