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Islamic centre hit by arson attack

The Local · 9 Dec 2010, 17:50

Published: 09 Dec 2010 17:50 GMT+01:00

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The assailant threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid against the front of the cultural centre belonging to the Iranian community of Berlin and Brandenburg on Ordensmeisterstraße in the Tempelhof district, police said.

Greens MP Volker Beck held Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer indirectly responsible for the attack. This autumn Merkel declared that “multiculturalism has failed utterly” and Seehofer railed against Muslim immigrants – remarks widely seen as intensifying an already divisive debate over integration and Islam in Germany.

Residents alerted the fire department because an area of the building’s façade several metres wide was ablaze. Two people were in the centre at the time of the attack, but they were unharmed.

The fire burnt itself out and left behind blackened brickwork. Police were investigating on the grounds of attempted arson.

Last month, similar attacks were launched against the Al Nur and Sehitlik mosques, both in the Berlin district of Neukölln. No one has so far been arrested.

Berlin Interior Minister Ehrhart Körting said there was no evidence the crimes were carried out by the same people.

Beck, who is the human rights spokesman for the parliamentary group of the environmentalist Greens, said Merkel’s comments and inflammatory remarks by Christian Social Union leader Seehofer had made sweeping judgements linking immigrants to people who refused to integrate and Islamists who opposed Germany’s constitution.

Story continues below…

Former central banker Thilo Sarrazin, whose book “Abolishing Germany” kicked off the toxic immigration debate, as well as conservative politicians and even the populist Bild daily were pushing “an attempt at social division” that could “give impulse” to such attacks, he said.

DAPD/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:09 December 9, 2010 by adipk
i can feel smell of smoke. probably some superpowers want to play their dirty game here now.....
18:47 December 9, 2010 by Clapoti
I'm maybe naive (well I probably are actually), but before coming to Germany I thought that here would be the last place where I would see racially motivated attacks... you know because of their history I thought the people had learn something.
19:38 December 9, 2010 by Frenemy
I wouldn't be surprised if this attack was carried out by other (more extreme) Muslims in an attempt to instigate something...
19:54 December 9, 2010 by dcgi
*facepalm* at comment above.
20:36 December 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Is it really all that difficult to connect the dots between incendiary xenophobic rhetoric by politicians and literally incendiary conduct by xenophobes? Words have consequences.
22:26 December 9, 2010 by bramblebush
23:33 December 9, 2010 by Frenemy
@dcgi: well, it wouldn't be the first time. In 04 and 05 Iranian proxies were blowing up Shiite mosques and blaming it on the Sunnis in order to provoke a retaliation.

Its a tactic that has proven successful in the past. What better place to use it than in a region rife with latent anti-Islamic sentiment?!
01:11 December 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"Latent" anti-Islamic sentiment? Seems rather conspicuous to me.
09:53 December 10, 2010 by GermanAussier
If anyone believes racism is dead in Germany, may I suggest a trip to Cottbus. I live there and being an Auslander, it's quite difficult to go about your daily life when 20% (no exageration) of the town are neo nazi's. The hair clippers get alot of work in this place. Lucky I'm white, I couldn't imgaine being Asian, or Black, or Muslim in this town. Which is hard considering the local University is the only reason this town still exisits. Racism is alive and well in the East. The politicians do nothing to help. Cottbus is living proof.
11:53 December 10, 2010 by LancashireLad
I can see both Frenemy's and Prufrock's points. Frenemy's might be far-fetched but not entirely without merit. It would be interesting to see if the three recent targets were all of the same "brand" of Islam i.e. all Sunni or all Shia.
13:58 December 10, 2010 by DinhoPilot

Double facepalm. Like we didn't had enough problem with iranians.


Aachen is pretty much the same but doesn't have such problems. I cannot imagine a place where 20% of the popul are nazis. As long there isn't violence and its only verbal is survivable.
05:49 December 11, 2010 by Ich
Frenemy has a good point: it's nothing muslims haven't done to each other, repeatedly, and now, they may be doing it to us. Indeed, fundametalists murdered Arab leaders like Anwer Sadat and possibly Rafik Hariri, who have tried to reach an accord with the West and Isreal. Murder and violence are much more accepted in Middle East politics than in ours. On the other hand, "grassroots" violence isn't out of the question, and while not to be condoned, it should also not be unexpected, given the treatment of Geert wilders and Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff for merely bringing the discussion out of "political correctness" and into a rational light. Islamic doctrine does incorporate a lot of aggressive and oppressive notions that Western religions have longed abandoned as "backward", which "justify" violence. And many people are not only tired of its consequences in airport security, bombings, and constant tension, but also of our governments' refusal to deal with it effectively. Angela Merkel's frank statements about it are a positive step in bringing the problems in the open where, hopefully, progressive muslims will have the support they need against their Jihadist fellows to make their religion something we can all live with, before it is too late.
22:46 December 11, 2010 by DOZ
Once the Arab-Muslim Nations have a real voice in the U.N. (it's starting) and are responsible for their own paths, the Jihadists will die out.
05:58 December 12, 2010 by Frenemy
@DOZ: What fantasy world are you living in?
11:31 December 12, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@ ich --

"Progressive muslims" has to be the oxymoron of all time.
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