“In a time when the threat from Islamist criminals is greater than ever, we have to combat the Salafists with all democratic means.”, president of the local CDU chapter Franz Joseph Britz told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
But some Muslim residents of Essen were dismayed by the way the CDU had chosen to counter the Salafists.
“I find this CDU action unfortunate, because they're saying the Koran is the opposite of the Constitution.
“As a lawyer who's studied the law and the Constitution as well as the Koran, I say the two don't contradict one another,” Azzadine Karioh, deputy president of the Commission for Islam and Mosques in Essen, told The Local.
In fact, Karioh said that in his belief the Koran and the Constitution were complementary, and he had no problem having both side-by-side on his shelf.
As for the Salafists, he said that they were “an extremely small minority” in Essen, and that mainstream Muslims were extremely unhappy with them.
“These Salafists should give out copies of the Koran where they are needed,” Karioh said.
“In November, I was travelling through very poor countries where I met students who would like to study Islam, but had no money to buy a copy of the Koran.
“These people are unable to study at the same time as copies of the Koran are practically being thrown away in Germany.”
Salafists have been distributing free German-language Koran editions across Germany, Austria and Switzerland since 2011 in a campaign called "Read!", which aims to provide every household with a copy of the Muslim holy book.
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