Berlin against Islamism – Why we protest
Victims In the immediate aftermath of the attack on the Christmas market, the needs of the injured and slain victims’ relatives were grossly neglected, as were those of the survivors. There was no system of support in place for the victims, their families and the first responders at the scene. Instead, immediate official statements warned of an “instrumentalization” of the attacks by right-wing groups, before any such thing had even taken place. General fears and concerns of further attacks were dismissed. To this day, the German chancellor has not met with survivors or victims’ relatives. A representative for the victims and their families, Astrid Passin, notes that she and others have not even received a letter of condolence. Commemorations with radical Islamic preachers After the December attack, the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD), held a memorial event where he shared the stage with Ferid Heider, a known radical Islamic preacher. Berlin’s state intelligence agency, the “Verfassungsschutz” attests that he is close to the so called Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni terrorist group. He is known to be one of the most influential Islamic fundamentalists. Johannes Kandel, director of the department for intercultural dialogue at the renowned Friedrich Ebert Foundation, describes him as being “very clearly fundamentalist oriented”. At a second memorial event in March, Müller again had no problems sharing the stage with yet another radical Islamic preacher, the Imam of the “Daressalam”-Mosque, which is currently under investigation by the Verfassungsschutz intelligence agency for its fundamentalist leanings. This second event was organized by the so called “Neuköllner Begegnungszentrum”, also under investigation by the Verfassungsschutz intelligence agency, and was being advertised for by three other groups, all under investigation by the same agency for their connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The invitation to the second memorial event made no mention of the attacks themselves whatsoever. Political Islam – Islamic politics Meanwhile, allegations of contacts between the Berlin SPD party with radical Islamic groups are mounting. Mohamed Ibrahim, member of the SPD and founder of its “Working Group ‘Muslims in the SPD’” (AKMS), for instance, actively supported an anti-Semitic manifestation against Israel that was planned to take place explicitly near the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and has called for boycotts of companies with ties to Jewish organizations. He joined one of Germany’s most infamous Al-Qaida members and former left-wing terrorist Bernhard Falk at this manifestation. The SPD denies having had any knowledge of this. The memorial The planned memorial to the attack makes no mention of Islam whatsoever. Instead, its inscription will read “For a peaceful coexistence of all people”. The memorial will consist of a crack in the ground symbolizing, according to city officials, the damage done to our everyday lives. This is a wrong signal. The attack on the Christmas market wasn’t carried out to do damage to “our everyday lives”, but to end the lives of 12 innocent victims and (severely) hurt more than 100. A scar is supposed to be symbolized in the shape of the monument. Its chief aim therefore is not remembrance, but its opposite: the “cut in everyday life” that gradually disappears. The attack is forgotten and the wounds heal, so that one can carry on as before. Yet, a real confrontation of the problem presupposes an honest diagnosis. In Berlin, however, the problem is meant to go away by doing nothing and remembrance therefore simply poses an obstacle that needs to be overcome. Once again, it becomes evident how the violence becomes de-politicized: the chattering class speaks about peace and a peaceful together, but one is left wondering, what exactly is actually threatening both. There is only talk about abstract violence and, as usual, no mention of Islamism. What we now get is a disrespectful form of remembrance, devoid of piety, over which the state, that obviously is no longer able to guarantee the safety and integrity of its citizens, exerts full interpretative sovereignty. The monument can hardly be seen as anything other than a form of repression, an attempt at oblivion. There is also reason to fear that the usual suspects will even be part of the inauguration ceremony of the monument, although, since the mayor of Berlin Müller has been criticized heavily this year for his liaison dangereuse with the Islamists in the press over and over again, he might be on his guard this time. In the past Müller has shown himself to be completely resistant to any political advice, even when coming directly from his own security circles (i.e., see above, the “Verfassungsschutz”, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution). Therefore it is safe to assume he will not dismiss the opportunity to pray for peace hand in hand with an Islamist Imam from the Muslim Brotherhood this time round. For there is definitely a strong reason to suspect that the Imam chosen to be present at the inauguration ceremony of the monument will be of an Islamist background, no matter who he is going to be. Since, according to the mayor of the district of Neukölln, Franziska Giffey (SPD), ”almost every Arabic mosque in Berlin has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood” (B.Z. 11.7.16). Therefore it will be difficult, not only in Neukölln, to come up with an Imam that turns out to be genuinely moderate beyond a public image face. Tackling exactly this problem is the task of a genuine and responsible policy. As long as these issues are not addressed with the utmost clarity and honesty, further terrorist attacks like the one on the Breitscheidplatz are not only possible, but very likely to take place: again and again and again. Our rally On 19th December we will therefore speak out against the apologists of political Islam in the media, the universities and the political parties. The Islamic councils and mosques, with which the political class cooperates, do not only pose a questionable choice during vigils, they can never be partners of a civic polity, they are its sworn enemies and need to be denounced as what they are: Islamists.
Phyllis Chesler, author Serap Çileli, author and human rights activist Martin Cüppers, historian Stephan Grigat, political scientist Jeffrey Herf, historian Waleed Al-Husseini, author Wolfgang Kraushaar, political scientist Hartmut Krauss, educational scientist Boualem Sansal, author Samuel Schirmbeck, journalist Alice Schwarzer, journalist