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On the German protests against Islam

It’s not difficult to describe the situation in Germany; there are bad Muslims and bad Germans

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

It’s not difficult to describe the situation in Germany; there are bad Muslims and bad Germans. The 18,000 Germans who took to the streets of Dresden against what they dubbed the “Islamization of Germany” include racists as well as angry people who have been affected by the heinous and ugly political acts committed by Muslims across the world. Among these Germans are those who blame others for the difficult economic situation they find themselves in, considering the influx of foreigners which has led to competition over jobs and benefits.

Germany itself is home to Muslim religious and political extremists who succeeded in distorting the image of the other three million Muslims who live peacefully in Germany. Muslim extremists in Germany are more dangerous and harmful to Muslims than angry, racist and fascist Germans. Germany is a tolerant, secular and civil state that has 2,500 mosques. Its regulations, courts and executive institutions protect the Muslim community from racist groups. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the anti-Islam protests as a detestable act. The justice minister also led a protest against racists in the same square as the anti-Islam rally.

The talk about the Islamization of Germany is nothing more than a silly scarecrow

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Arabs make up a small minority of Muslims in Germany. Moroccans, who rank fourth after the Turks, Bosnians and Iranians, account for 80,000 persons. Those of Lebanese origin rank sixth with just 50,000 immigrants.

The talk about the Islamization of Germany is nothing more than a silly scarecrow. After all, Muslims are a small minority and it’s said that the number of Germans who converted to Islam comes in at 100,000, which is a small number considering the country’s population of 80 million. Most of those who converted to Islam most likely did so following mixed marriages and not due to preaching. Muslims have become tormented people following the damage to their image and the image of their religion. This has occurred ever since the al-Qaeda organization surfaced and also due to the massive propaganda of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which made headlines with its violent practices such as the beheadings of Western hostages.

Defending their image

The three million Muslims residing in Germany cannot do much to defend their image because the Islamic region is rife with awful images and news which is used by racists to incite against Islam and against peaceful Muslims who live in the West and other countries. What is always worth a shot, by Germany’s Muslims and other Germans, is directing their anger towards Muslim extremists, expelling them from their communities and distancing them from their schools and children. Fighting Muslim extremists in Germany is more important to Muslims than fighting German racists whom the state will deal with and punish. Perhaps the state will roll up its sleeves and also fight Muslim extremists as it’s not possible - and not acceptable – that the war only be waged against racists while overlooking extremist Muslims. Those extremist Muslims exploit the tolerant and civil regulations in order to market a culture of hatred, incite against followers of other religions and seek to control Muslim schools, mosques and charity and humanitarian institutions.

This stance does not protect Germany from the alleged Islamization but it saves Muslims from the rotten apples among them and from those who sabotaged their communities, destroyed them or imposed their extremist ideology on their people. Those who deserve freedom in civil societies are those individuals who respect freedom and not those who exploit it to serve their own interests.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on January 7, 2015.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.