• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Police suspect arsonists were behind mosque fire

The Local · 28 Aug 2014, 12:55

Published: 28 Aug 2014 10:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Aug 2014 12:55 GMT+02:00

Police had believed that the fire at the Mevlana mosque in Kreuzberg might have been caused by a technical fault or started accidentally, but both of those possibilities have now been ruled out.

"We never ruled out arson," Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf told The Local. "There was no direct evidence of an arson attack, no traces of a break-in... but by a process of elimination it turned out that it was probably a deliberately started fire."

Germany's vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was already speaking of an “attack” in the days before the police announcement on a visit to the mosque, describing arson on a place of worship as “an attack on the centre of society”.

The fire began in building materials stored in an unfinished extension to the structure and caused smoke damage to the facade and the interior of the mosque. Renovation and extension work has been going on at the site since 2013.

More than 60 firefighters were deployed to put out the blaze.

Members of the congregation have been praying in the street since the fire on August 11th.

Possible political motive

Neuendorf said that times of conflict in the Middle East can lead to an increase in violent crime in Germany.

"When a mosque is burned, that has to be taken very seriously," he said. "There is no evidence of what the motive might be... but the target itself suggests that it might be political."

"When there are tensions in other countries, that can also lead to political crimes here... graffiti will increase, physical attacks will increase."

Seven Berlin mosques were attacked by arsonists over the course of six months in 2010 and 2011, including the Shitlik mosque on Columbiadamm, the Neukölln Al-Nur mosque and an Islamic cultural centre in Tempelhof.

Story continues below…

No-one was hurt in any of the attacks but many of the buildings were damaged.

A list of all attacks on Muslim places of worship released by the government in June showed that 78 criminal acts, ranging from graffiti to threats and arson, were committed between January 2012 and spring 2014.

This was an increase over the average rate of two per month between 2001 and 2011.

SEE ALSO: Police believe mosque fire was 'accident'

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

1000s of smashed beer bottles bring Autobahn to standstill
The clean up near Bayreuth. Photo: DPA

The main road artery between Munich and Berlin was completely shut down on Tuesday evening after a truck driver committed a cardinal sin.

Far-right leader Petry under investigation for perjury
Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

Her right wing populist party’s electoral successes have struck the fear of God into the political mainstream. But Frauke Petry is now under investigation in Dresden for perjury.

We'll crush German airlines, boasts Ryanair boss
Michael O’Leary. Photo: DPA

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has told a German newspaper that German rivals Air Berlin and Eurowings are doomed.

All aboard the €3,000 train ride from Berlin to London
Hercule Poirot on the Orient Express. Photo: Arte/DPA

One imagines that there is more than one Londoner who has moved to Germany in pursuit of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. Now they have the chance to travel like him, too.

Adidas to bring production home with robot shoe factory
File photo: DPA

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, announced Tuesday that it will start marketing its first series of sportshoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017.

Passersby spur on mob as they attack refugees
File Photo: DPA

When four refugees were attacked near a tram stop in a town on the German-Polish border on Monday evening, pedestrians egged on their assailants.

Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Screenshot: Facebook

Members of anti-Islam group Pegida were outraged this week to see photos of black and Middle Eastern children on packets of Kinder chocolate bars – until they found out who the kids really were.

Germany gets its way over fresh aid for Greece
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble appears to have got his way at a Brussels showdown. Photos: DPA

Greece will get extra cash in the coming months to cover its debt repayments – but there'll be no cut to the total amount before the next elections in Germany.

Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Chancellor Angela Merkel showing up French President François Hollande in a neighbourly battle of table manners. Photo: DPA.

Despite what stereotypes might have you believe, Germans aren't that different from the rest of us when it comes to social interactions. But these tips should at least help guide you through the minor quirks that come with your next dinner invitation.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
7,800
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd