Islamic associations and October 7th: Not from above

Islamic associations and October 7th: Not from above

Government politicians are creating mistrust with their accusations against German Islamic associations. What do they actually do for solidarity?

Should Muslims speak out particularly clearly against anti-Semitism? Mosque in front of Cologne Cathedral Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa

One can accuse the large Islamic associations in Germany of a lot. They are conservative, ponderous and often appear uninterested in their German environment. Many have their roots in Turkey; the Ditib association is even subordinate to the Turkish government. The fact that the head of the religious authority in Ankara, Ali Erbas, described Israel in a sermon as a “rusty dagger” in the heart of the Islamic world is alarming.

Because Erbas is the supreme superior of the imams who preach in the hundreds of Ditib mosques in Germany. Although Ditib has not adopted these statements, it has not distanced itself from its top employer either.

What one cannot accuse the Islamic associations of is that they condone Hamas’ terror. In fact, the major umbrella organizations reacted surprisingly quickly and issued their first statement on October 8th in which they condemned the violence and warned of an escalation. Similar tones were struck in many Friday sermons. When politicians from Cem Özdemir to Volker Beck to Jens Spahn accuse the Islamic associations of not condemning Hamas’ terror clearly enough, then that is populism that sows distrust.

When Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck indirectly threatens Muslims that they could forfeit their right to tolerance if they do not behave as he expects them to, then many actually feel threatened. And when Interior Minister Nancy Faeser now calls on Muslims to take an even clearer stand against anti-Semitism, then she is promoting the general suspicion that she supposedly wants to counteract.

It would be better if the federal government itself did more to promote social cohesion. That would mean not just lecturing Muslims from above and demanding that they confess, but also understanding them as equal citizens and also addressing their concerns and fears.


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