Germany: Antisemitic Islamic association takes part in UN anti-racism event
Of course. The willful ignorance is pandemic. Anyone who tries to provide the correct information is smeared as “Islamophobic.”
“A flagship event for tolerance – with Islamists on the list of speakers,” translated from “Ein Vorzeigeevent für Toleranz – mit Islamisten auf der Rednerliste,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 22, 2023 (thanks to Medforth):
Racism has many faces. It can be directed against skin color, religion, nations, sexual identities, disabilities of people. With an extensive program for the “UN Weeks against Racism,” the Foundation Against Racism from Darmstadt also wants to take a stand against hatred and group-related hostility in Germany. Until April 2, about 4,500 events will take place all over Germany, one of the most important being the kick-off event in Augsburg. But there is criticism of this event.
Because minorities whose members are attacked in a racist way are not automatically democrats themselves. In Augsburg, an official of the Islamic Community Milli Görüş (IGMG) is on stage at the event, a public Friday prayer on the first fasting day of Ramadan. It is a showcase event intended to send a signal for more tolerance and empathy. Several religious umbrella organizations, including Yazidis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Alevis and Bahais, are sending their highest representatives to the city for the occasion.
Milli Görüş is a mosque umbrella organization founded in the 1970s by functionaries from Turkey for Muslim workers in Germany. It represents 325 mosque associations in Germany and for decades attracted attention through radical Islamist demonstrations, proselytizing attempts and educational work. In Bavaria, it is still monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as part of the “legalist-Islamist” spectrum. As the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution informed on request, the IGMG will also be mentioned in the new report, which has not yet been published.
Jürgen Micksch, director of the Foundation against Racism, has no problem with this. On the contrary. “We gather the religious communities at the same meeting table. That’s not always trouble-free, there are many debates between the groups. But that’s the only way it works.” He is a Protestant theologian and sociologist and has been well connected with Milli Görüş and other controversial Muslim initiatives for decades. He was a co-founder of numerous interreligious associations, including the Abrahamic Forum and the working group “Muslims and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution”. The IGMG is a long-standing partner.
A misjudged association? As the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) explains upon request, it is not only Bavaria that observes the IGMG and its mosque associations as “legalistic Islamist” organisations. It is also the focus of the offices for the protection of the constitution in five other federal states. “Legalistic” means that there is no call to violence, but Islam is not only considered a personal religious practice, but a comprehensive model of society: “They try to help shape the social and political system in the long term in favour of an Islamic basic and value order and to establish their agenda in politics and society,” according to the constitutional protectors.
Necmettin Erbakan, the late IGMG founder and former prime minister of Turkey, and his writings stand for a world view of irreconcilable opposites: Here the “Umma”, the just world community of Muslims. There the decadent, hostile West dominated by Jews: “Zionism is an ideology whose centre is on New York’s Wall Street. The Zionists believe that they are the chosen servants of God, that other people were created as their slaves. They assume that it is their task to rule the world,” he wrote in his manifesto “Just Order.” On the anniversary of his death, Erbakan is still honoured in the IGMG associations today with rituals and programs to “commemorate the elders.”
Jürgen Micksch explains: “Yes, Erbakan’s concepts are of course highly questionable. And it is necessary to deal with them. But we have achieved in many federal states that the IGMG is no longer observed. In our opinion, there is no basis for observation in Bavaria either.”
In Augsburg, he cooperated with the Round Table of Religions. Helmut Haug, dean of the Catholic Church and head of the round table, explains that the Augsburg program was set by the foundation. He does not see a problem in giving the IGMG a stage. “This is the only way to address issues like anti-racism,” he explains in writing. He does not answer the question whether anti-Semitism is a problem.
Herrmann Bredl, Anti-Semitism Officer of the Jewish Community of Augsburg, is appalled. “Milli Görüs has not shown any serious, critical engagement with anti-Semitic content and Israel-related anti-Semitism in Germany to date. An initial distancing from Erbakan’s worldview, formulated over ten years ago, has not been continued or worked through with Jewish associations.” The appearance trivialised anti-Semitism, and the community condemned the IGMG’s prominent placement at these events “in the strongest possible terms.”