• Germany's news in English

'Shariah Police are testing our rule of law'

AFP/The Local · 9 Sep 2014, 08:55

Published: 09 Sep 2014 08:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Sep 2014 08:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"No tolerance for Salafists" said the conservative Welt newspaper after a small group of men, wearing orange vests with "Shariah Police" written on them, went on a series of "patrols" in the western city of Wuppertal.

Seeking to enforce their austere moral code, they told Friday nightclub-goers to refrain from drinking alcohol and listening to music and arcade customers not to play games for money.

A video circulating online shows among them Sven Lau, a German Salafist convert who claims to be one of those behind the patrol idea.

Under current German law, the self-styled "Shariah Police" could at most face a charge of disturbing public order.

No arrests have been made so far, but political leaders warned they would crack down on the Islamist patrol if it took its campaign any further.

"We will not tolerate an illegal parallel justice," warned Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

"Sharia law is not tolerated on German soil," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told Saturday's Bild newspaper.

Bavaria state's interior minister Joachim Herrmann described it as a"direct attack by the Salafists on our rule of law" in comments published in Monday's Bild daily.

Stephan Mayer, also from the CSU Bavarian allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, called in Sunday's Tagesspiegel for promoting strict Sharia law to be "penalized".

Volker Kauder, the parliamentary group leader of Merkel's conservatives, argued that the police alone was responsible for upholding public order.

"Therefore we must examine a ban of these supposed guardians of Islamic virtues," he told the Welt am Sonntag.

The head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany has also condemned the action by the Salafists in Wuppertal.

"Salafists and fanatics should no longer be able to hide behind religious freedom, even Islamic groups concerned with the reputation of Muslims see it that way," said Welt.

Rainer Wendt, head of police union DPolG warned that the so-called “Sharia Police” should not be taken lightly.

“At any time such groups could make people all over Germany feel insecure and test our rule of law.”

Story continues below…

He added the actions by the Salafists in Wuppertal could be a “test run” for other areas, Wendt added.

But writing in the Tagesspiegel newspaper, journalist Malte Lehming pointed out that Christian groups had long carried out action in the centre of Hamburg’s red light district, the Reeperbahn.

Lehming added that freedom to preach religious beliefs was protected in the German constitution. “As long as ‘Sharia Police’ and singing evangelists don’t force anybody into something, they can do what they want. A knee-jerk reaction only plays into the hands of the Islamist provocateurs."

German intelligence last year voiced concern over the growing number of Islamic Salafists, who espouse an austere form of Sunni Islam, and said they numbered around 4,500 in the country.

SEE ALSO: Police throw book at Shariah vigilantes 

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

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd