Islamist demonstration causes uproar in Germany

Islamist demonstration causes uproar in Germany

Where is the Islamist danger in Germany? This question has been debated again since a thousand men followed, a few steps behind, by around 80 veiled women, marched on Saturday April 27 in the streets of Hamburg, a large port city in northern Germany. . During this demonstration, which took place peacefully and supervised by the police, one could read slogans such as “the caliphate is the solution”, “Germany, dictatorship of values”, as well as calls for solidarity with the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.

The messages conveyed, and the images of the demonstration broadcast on social networks, quickly caused an outcry among the political class. The Minister of the Interior, the Social Democrat Nancy Faeser, judged “hardly bearable” duty “such a demonstration of Islamists in our streets”. It is on the right and the far right that the criticism is strongest, with calls for “expel foreigners who do not respect the values ​​of the Republic”but also criticism of the authorities of the city of Hamburg for not having banned this demonstration in advance.

If the local police opened an investigation to find out whether certain posters and slogans launched were liable to prosecution, supporting the caliphate, a territory subject to Islamic laws, is not in itself prohibited by law. Many personalities, however, are calling for an outright ban on the Muslim Interaktiv organization, which initiated this demonstration.

An organization classified “as extremist”

Created in 2020, this very active organization in Hamburg is officially classified “as an extremist” by regional intelligence services. Ideologically close to the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, itself banned from activity, it comes from the Muslim Brotherhood movement and has organized various demonstrations in the country, notably in 2022 to denounce the oppression of Uighur Muslims in China, and in 2023 after a Quran was burned in Sweden.

According to the federal intelligence services, these gatherings allow “to mobilize as many participants as possible”but above all “collect awesome images and videos for their social media channels”. The goal is to denounce what he judges to be “the policy of systematic assimilation” carried out against Muslims in Germany.

According to Michael Kiefer, a specialist in Islam at the University of Osnabrück (Lower Saxony), this is again what happened on April 27 in Hamburg. “Muslim Interaktif uses the discourse of victimization towards Muslims and calls on them to defend themselves. We don't really know who the people are taking part in the demonstrations, but among the speakers are people born and socialized in Germany, sometimes very eloquent. he notes. This is the case of Joe Adade Boateng, known under the pseudonym “Raheem”, a student at the University of Hamburg and widely followed on TikTok.

Rise of Islamist organizations

In fact, specialists in Islamism have noted a rise in the power of various Islamist organizations on social networks, particularly since the Hamas attacks of October 7, 2023. “Muslim Interaktiv is very careful not to put itself in a position of illegality, but it is certainly one of the most dangerous movements at the moment because it is very well organized, disciplined, very active and professional on social medianotes Michael Kiefer. Repression and banning are perhaps necessary but they will not be enough because when one association closes, another is created. We must strengthen the educational component against radicalization. »

More broadly, the various intelligence services confirm an increase in Islamist danger since the war between Israel and Hamas. In 2022, they estimated the number of Islamists in Germany at 27,000 out of a population of more than five million Muslims.

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