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'Extremism in Germany is still safely on sidelines'

Published: 14 Mar 2013 14:51 GMT+01:00

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich recently argued that "taking the worries [about immigration] of the people seriously" was necessary in order to keep the far right out of the German parliament.

Yet the right-wing extremists have little chance of making a significant impression electorally - and this should relieve pressure on mainstream parties to follow them - Professor Hajo Funke from Berlin's Free University told The Local.

Talking about the foiled attack by Salafists on the head of the xenophobic Pro NRW party Markus Beisicht, Funke said both extremes should be the business of the German security services and police forces - and less of a concern for political parties.

But he said the Salafist groups on the one hand and the far-right groups on the other were incapable of securing significant public support in Germany.

"The Salafist groups are dangerous and prepared to use violence and must be stopped by the police, that much is clear. But neither they nor the Pro Deutschland groups have enough public support to make much of an impact."

Extremist Salafists have come to the attention of security services for their anti-democratic preaching. They have been particularly provoked by the Pro NRW party in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, part of the national anti-Muslim Pro Deutschland grouping.

Pro NRW held demonstrations outside mosques in Bonn and Cologne last year, when they held up posters of offensive cartoons showing Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Violent clashes ensued and one man from the Salafist side stabbed two police officers. He was jailed for six years in October.

But despite such alarming scenes, Funke said neither side had much of a chance of making a wider political impact.

"The Pro NRW and Pro Deutschland groups are too marginalized, too isolated and too far right," he said.

"They fall into the trap that all far-right parties in Germany fall into, they are too clannish and far right to have any electoral success."

This means that the mainstream parties were not likely to be tempted to move to the right to take ground from the Pro Deutschland xenophobes, he suggested.

"Why would they? There is nothing to be gained there, no votes," he said.

"It is a question for the security executive to do their job properly, such as banning the three Salafist groups this week. The question remains whether this is effective."

He said banning the Muslim extremists was correct, but that there was little hope of doing the same to the neo-Nazi NPD party because, he said, the security forces were incapable of making sure there were no informers in top positions, which is what stymied a previous attempt to ban the party.

He also said Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Verfassungsschutz, seemed in its current form unable to handle double extremist threat from the Islamists and the far right at the same time.

Hannah Cleaver

hannah.cleaver@thelocal.com

twitter.com/hannahcleaver2

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:21 March 14, 2013 by Bulldawg82
I wonder if its ok to have an irrational fear of xenophobes? I mean Salafists are xenophobes too, right? Plus, they are worst kind as they go to other countries to practice it.
15:28 March 14, 2013 by LiberalGuy
Is that Malcom in the Middle holding up that sign in the right hand side of the picture?
15:30 March 14, 2013 by Bulldawg82
@ LiberalGuy: LOL! He's hurting for publicity nowadays!!!
16:23 March 14, 2013 by adam.müller
Both muslim extremist and islamophobics are equally bad and racist.

Live and make friend from each culture.
21:17 March 14, 2013 by Englishted
@adam.müller

Wrong because Islam is not a race and having a fear (phobia) of Islam is also nothing to do with race.

Professor Hajo Funke from Berlin's Free University is alas wrong as the Pro NRW party is not xenophobic, islamophobic true but if some Islamist are German then they are not foreigners which they have to be for the word xenophobic to be correctly used.
21:45 March 14, 2013 by antistar
The fact that the vast majority of Muslims are not white means that "Islam is a religion" is often just a fig leaf for people to vent their racism in safety. Similarly, if someone was to say "I only hate Jews because of their religion", one would probably not assume that was they were being honest.

Besides, it's a moot point: If you hate or fear an entire group of people as varied as Jews or Muslims, just because of their religion, your bigotry is as great as any racist.
07:03 March 15, 2013 by schneebeck
I want to ask.

Did these people become Salifists after they were already in Germany, or were they let in to the country that way?

If the latter, can someone explain to me what justification might have been used for letting them in?
08:17 March 15, 2013 by the.local.reader
how about if the former, can someone explain if it is the soil cultured extremists in a country full of xenophobe?
11:22 March 15, 2013 by adam.müller
@Englishted

Seriously? so in you opinion murdering of 10 Turkish innocent hard working Muslims by neo-nazis was not islamophobic and Islamophobia does not exist like hate again Jews did not existed 60 years ago?

fact is we are the one to blame for not integration, how many Muslim friends do a common German person normally have? none.

we are al nothing more than media fed dumbs.
13:58 March 15, 2013 by raandy
adam.müller I am not sure the murdering of Turkish shop owners was islamophobia or just an intensive dislike for the Turkish, are you?
15:22 March 15, 2013 by mobaisch
some of view are missing one point. Many of those salafists are really German! some pure german, some born here..

No immigrant dares or like to be like that!

They act more radical because they know they can, because they know the rules, they are germans!!

In other words, you germans fight each other.
18:37 March 15, 2013 by KlaatuWithGort
This is a disgraceful article. If we oppose Neo-Nazis, then we are I suppose OK. If we oppose murdering religious fundamentalist lunatics then apparently we are "xenophobes".

Has the writer of this article even STUDIED what these "Muslims" DO? Blow up people at weddings and funerals, swear death to westerners. MURDER people for showing a cartoon. CUT OFF people's heads in Saudi Arabia, and on telly. Burn libraries, confine women to the house, cover them up in some sort of perverted sexual lunacy.?

And we are not allowed to react to THAT?
20:27 March 15, 2013 by ChrisRea
@ KlaatuWithGort

If you oppose murdering religious fundamentalist lunatics, then nobody calls you a xenophobe. Besides the three banned groups, was it anybody who did not agree with the ban? But if you cannot see that the regular Muslim has nothing in common with terrorist more than Christians have with people like Breivik, then you are right, you are a xenophobe.
23:52 March 15, 2013 by rimpius
Do Muslims in Deutschland pay "Kirchensteuer"?

The death penalty seems extreme for drawing cartoons of the bearded one.
07:44 March 16, 2013 by Englishted
@adam.müller

Yes seriously, the murder of these people (one was Greek and not Muslim)wrong as it was,was racist not islamophobic because mistakenly it was a attack on the Turkish race based on colour alone ,not on the specific religion of the victims .

Islamophobia exists but it is not based on race it is based on religion.

Anti-Semitism also still exists but it basis is more blurred base on a mixture of race and religion.

Personally I do dislike Islam and if you came from the city I come from and see the effects of areas of the city now being run outside the "normal" (for example Shira law ,outside our legal system) ways of the rest of the country you may change your mind too.
13:43 March 16, 2013 by sunnyboyshines
@Englishted: I fully understand and agree what you mean. I am from a country where a particular religion is in minority, but there are lot of towns/villages where this religion has an increasing population or are already in majority. In such places, the rest of the local population are facing severe problems. The local governing bodies, represented by this religion, clearly show discrimination and refuse basic facilities to others like electricity and water supply unless they convert to that religion. Not only that - even the local 'moderates' who were good next door neighbors when they were in minority today do everything possible to make the life of others difficult. example - throwing litter in their courtyards, shouting, teasing when u r out, painting their relligious stuff on your walls. Complaints to authorities fall on deaf ears. They keep doing this till one is disgusted to the extent of selling off their houses and relocating elsewhere. And guess what, even when one wants to sell off his house, there is no one to buy, except for members of this religion who then buy it at dirt cheap prices. Systematic replacement of native population! And guess what - by the same "moderate" neighbors who were perhaps at one time your childhood buddies. "Moderate" and "Extremism" has only one defining factor: Population percentage!
17:04 March 16, 2013 by liondens
I have one question for the "professor" above...don't you think that it's too late already for the right-wingers to win the majority before they can change the country? Don't you think that they are realized that already that if they want something to be done then they have to take a short cut? Perhaps, the "professor" has forgoten his own history that how Hitler and his Nazi party won the majority right? Professor, perhaps, you should take a look at the Golden Dawn in Greece, it has only 7% in parliament, but half of the police force are their supporters, so what do you think about that professor? If these right-wingers are willing, then your security forces don't mean much really.

A long time ago a US general was sent to Vietnam to assess the war situation there...after witnessing a VC blew himself up rather than surrender, right then and there he realized that this war is going to be very ugly, and he was right about that didn't he? So I've read it somewhere. Just think about it professor!
03:08 March 22, 2013 by RainerL
Bottum Line Muslim Extremenists should not even be in a Western Country. The should be turfed out to go back where they came from. They don't even like Westerners so why are they there? Because they stuffed up their own Country with their primitive religious Wars e.t.c and now being a burden to so many other Countries including as far away as Australia!!! No wonder we have the far right there simply wanting to defend their western cultures. I gladly join them!! Nothing to do with xenophobes e.t.c > That is just a convinient lable ebing used to silence people who stand up for what they belive in. Hell! look how many times the word Nazi gets thrown about when expressions and views brought about are not to the sound of the peoples Music who oppose it.
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