Showing the “ordinary” racism suffered by the 5.5 million Muslims in Germany is the objective of two Berlin associations. At the beginning of the week, they organized a “walk” in the Charlottenburg district on the trail of eight anti-Muslim acts. At each stage, participants hang an explanatory sign.
Near Mierendorf Square, a high school student was refused passage to an entrance exam to a vocational training establishment. The reason: his report card was judged ” suspicious “ because too good. This young man lost six months, the time that “verifications” be made. Further, the graffiti “Arabs out” was discovered in a merchant’s mailbox. In one of the tall buildings on Ernst Reuter Square, a woman in a hijab was insulted for not giving up her seat in an elevator. In rue Kant, a man was beaten for the simple fact of being “a priori” Muslim.
“The vast majority of these acts do not give rise to any complaints to the police because they do not take them seriously. With our action, we make ordinary racism visible” commented Caro Wenzel, of the Berliner-Register association to whom the victims report their experiences. “Our figures only reflect the tip of the iceberg” notes his colleague Jouanna Hassoun, from the Redar association. “A lot of people don’t report themselves. They say it’s useless.” says this activist.
Two reports made public last week confirm the seriousness of the problem, in a country that has welcomed many Muslims, Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, since 2015. The first report lists 898 known anti-Muslim acts in 2022. That is more than two a day. A quarter of them take place in public places, mainly against women. A fifth occurs in schools and 13% in the workplace. A second report published at the request of the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirms that one in two Germans “endorses statements hostile to Muslims”. That constitutes “a dangerous breeding ground and a gateway for anti-democratic groups” judges this report, which describes the Muslims of Germany as “one of the minorities most under pressure”.
The AfD, openly hostile to Muslims, is gaining ground
“When I see that 20% of voters are ready to vote for the AfD, that doesn’t give me much hope” notes Jouanna Hassoun. In front of Charlottenburg City Hall, she also denounced an anti-Muslim act on the part of this far-right party. In 2021, during a session of the municipal council, an elected official made a link between Islam, extremism and terrorism, to criticize the attack on a municipal agent by a Pakistani. “The police investigation was not over when he lumped all Pakistanis and Muslims together. It’s classic for this party” recalls his colleague Caro Wenzel.
In its report, the group of experts of the Ministry of the Interior considers the AfD as the only party on the program “obviously hostile to Muslims”. This is all the more worrying as this training continues to record good performances. After winning the presidency of a district in June, she won her first town hall, Raguhn-Jessnitz, in Saxony-Anhalt, on July 2.