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Salafist Muslims arrested as protest turns ugly

The Local · 2 May 2012, 11:48

Published: 02 May 2012 11:48 GMT+02:00

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Around 70 Safalist Muslims showed up outside a mosque in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), where the anti-Islam grouping “Pro NRW” had set up a stand showing cartoons of Mohammed. Some were copies of the Danish cartoons which sparked global outrage in 2005.

Police made 44 arrests and confiscated a bag of rocks from a protester at the apparently unplanned protest, local paper the Rheinische Post reported on Wednesday.

Prosecutors have since opened a probe on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and

disturbing the peace, a police spokesperson said.

On Monday a state court lifted a previous ban on the “Pro NRW” group using Mohammed caricatures in their election campaign in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) – despite criticism that the idea was pure provocation, and amid fears of violence.

And while there were protests in a few of NRW towns, the city of Solingen was the most eventful, with Salafists draped in flags bearing Arabic script and chanting pro-Islam messages.

Police said the demonstrators were peaceful until some tried to break through the chain of officers encircling the group, outside of the town hall. Things escalated and stones were thrown at police, injuring three officers and one passerby.

A further 37 people were arrested after police searched the city’s main Salafist mosque shortly after the incident, bringing the total to 81. All have since been released.

The "Pro NRW" party had displayed anti-Islamic caricatures of Mohammed by Danish artist Knut Westergaard in Essen and Gelsenkirchen before the ban, though the police prevented demonstrations taking place directly outside mosques.

The party intends to send activists to 25 mosques throughout the state in the run-up to the North Rhine-Westphalia election on May 13, staging protests in Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Wuppertal and Solingen.

Interior Minister for the state Ralf Jäger spoke out about Tuesday’s unrest, calling for vigilance towards extremism of any sort, whether Salafist or right-wing.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, the creator of the cartoons Westergaard has tried to distance himself from "Pro NRW", saying he supports freedom of speech and is in no way politically affiliated with the group.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:56 May 2, 2012 by CensorThis
Anything that does not support domination of Western Civilization by third world cultures is considered far right.
18:27 May 2, 2012 by marimay
I think i'll go antagonize people for the hell of it later.
18:42 May 2, 2012 by CensorThis
The first comment which I responded to was removed.

@marimay - yeah, that is what this is all about. People just trying to antagonize others. What jerks to just out of the blue go looking for a fight. Good thing those honorable Salafists showed up to put them in their places.
18:49 May 2, 2012 by Al uk
Seems like the NRW has proved a point.

@marimay don't forget your bag of rocks.
19:17 May 2, 2012 by marimay
They were looking for a fight, censor. Why else would one be an antagonist?

Oh well, the whole lot are a bunch of morons anyhow. Let them fight.
19:24 May 2, 2012 by X13F
We need more cartoons of Muhammed. Impose "dhimmitude" on muslims living in non muslim countries. The world has persecuted jews and christians. Now guess who's turn it is? Read what Robert Spencer says about it.
20:04 May 2, 2012 by CensorThis
@marimay - yeah, and the Salafists were just hanging out at the local sports bar with bags of rocks.

I did not see any of the NRW crowd fighting, just police and the Salfists.
20:13 May 2, 2012 by marimay

If I knowingly and intentionally provoke a negative reaction, am I not responsible for any violence that may ensue? I would, after all, be the cause.

You are one confused individual.
20:25 May 2, 2012 by CensorThis
@marimay - You are joking right? There is so much I can say about a comment like that, but my comment would likely be blocked for stating how daft you must be.

I drive on the autobahn every day, if I used your line of reasoning I would be in prison for intentionally sideswiping aggressive drivers off the road.

With your line of reasoning all crimes of passion can be justified along with me getting beheaded for throwing away a Koran.

I could perceive your last comment as meant to intentionally provoke me and I am well within my rights to physically assault you correct?

Am I still confused?
20:28 May 2, 2012 by TheCrownPrince
They have come here, so they better play by the rules! The western world has not fought for the achievements of enlightenment to start everything anew just because some fundamentalists think they get some extra treatment! If I want to ridicule Christianity or the Pope or Buddhism or whatever, I am allowed to to it. And if I want to ridicule Islam or Mohammed, I am allowed to do that, too, and I will not back down because of some brain-washed zealots who prefer to live in the middle ages!
21:21 May 2, 2012 by Whipmanager
I agree in principal with Mr. TheCrownPrince. In their dominated culture, in a land/sovereign state ruled by their way of thinking, they can do as they wish, even though it appears to be inhumane or immoral. But in a western country where there is law and the law preaches free speech (even if the speech is limited to some extent by how it may affect others) than as long as the speech meets the intent and expectation of any reasonable person in that society, they must allow that speech.

They are giving out their Koran, they are protesting, why can't others? We must be tolerant of them, but they must not be of us as their religion tells them not to? In the christian Bible it talks about obeying the laws of the land. I am not sure if the Koran does the same, but the Christian God, my God, will forgive me for not following his teachings if they ar edisctinctly against local laws.

A world with no opposing views is a dangerous one. We are seeing a conquest of the west. france can take the major blame for allowing so much unlawful immigration and for being so tolerant that their own government is now trying to take some back-steps from their past "Tolerance". The ignorant often claim rights. WHen they are told no, they feel justified in rebelling and protesting. The UN has a main goal of not allowing any democratic and free government to exist unharrassed. the small gang up in the UN and go against countries that try to keep thier identity. We are being forced to accept total removal of borders and replaceing the old borders with one world border.

Where will it stop?
21:51 May 2, 2012 by gorongoza
I presume you guys have have learnt something now. These guys are not like the black Africans you are used to condescend and say what you want - willy nilly, without any repurcation. They are definitely a different lot. These guys can take you buddy to the finale. A-a-a-n-n-n-d-d-d don't ever forget: YOU HAVE NO OIL.
23:27 May 2, 2012 by marimay

yeah, you are still quite confused.
08:30 May 3, 2012 by danceswithgoats
Is it just me or do several of these Salafists look like Germans with beards?

13:21 May 3, 2012 by Peepopaapo
Why should you be tolerant towards the ones who are intolerant towards the tolerant? Intolerance should always be punished with intolerance. This is the only way of keeping up a tolerant society. Salafists are as primitiv as neonazis are and therefore should be fought with intolerance.
11:08 May 6, 2012 by Ashar
I don't get the idea that it is a free speech issue and any one can ridicule Muslims or provoke some of the conservative ones among them on Muhammad caricatures. If Europe and especially Germany is a land of such a free speech, why denying holocaust is considered a crime here? Why people can't deny holocaust openly without any problem? Similarly why German people can't ask the German government what it is doing in other countries with its propaganda and spying activities? This is just a point to show that it is not very much free speech as some people think. Fact is simple. Muslims are an easy target as they are found in every European country these days just like jews in 1930s. But who brought them here? The West intervenes in their native countries, destabilizes them, kills plenty of them and then as a favour takes a handful of them as refugees into their own countries? Why not help them at their countries so that they don't come here and feel as a burden. Unfortunately, the world is so unjust. I feel for the current Muslims living in Europe the same as the poor jews had to suffer during the world war II.

I look for peace.
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