The Corner

Grassroots Anti-Islamism in Germany

In what could be seen as a parallel to the robust grassroots opposition to the Ground Zero mosque in the U.S., citizens of the German city of Mönchengladbach, located in the West German state of North Rhine–Westphalia, are working overtime to prevent the radical Islamic association “Invitation to Paradise” from building an Islamic school there. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, has monitored the activities of “Invitation to Paradise” members, who propagate a Salafist version of Islam that calls for the decapitation of non-believers and the imprisonment of women in burqas.

Traditionally, German politicians and policymakers have bent over backwards to not offend homegrown Islamists, revolutionary Iranian supporters, and Hezbollah activists. That helps to explain why the Hamburg-based mosque al-Quds, which spawned the 9/11 terror attacks, remained open for almost nine years as a training center for jihadists.

A citizens’ initiative in Mönchengladbach spearheaded by Wilfried Schultz, a jurist and a student of theology, seeks to jolt drowsy politicians and government officials into action against the Salafists. Last week, a court barred the radical Islamic association from using a building as a mosque and from building the planned Islamic school, based on an insufficient construction application. In response, 130 Salafists seized a market square to pray and will continue to hold open-air services. According to a local press report, a woman shouted at them, “You’re repressing women and children”; she was met with a response of “loud and aggressive Allahu Akbar (God is Great!)” chants.

“Invitation to Paradise” is a bizarre mix of German converts to Islam and German Muslims energetically campaigning to win more converts to their backward form of fanatical Islam. While the citizens’ group opposing them seems to have fathomed the anti-women, anti-Western goals of the Salafists, Hamburg continues to serve as one of Europe’s leading metropolitan hubs for anti-Western Islamic ideologies and as the Islamic Republic’s financial center. Take the example of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who appointed the director of the Islamic Center of Hamburg, which is part of the Imam Ali Mosque. The mosque’s imam, Ayatollah Reza Ramezani, has invoked the standard Iranian battle cry for wiping Israel off the map, “liberation of Jerusalem from the Zionist system,” and his mosque serves as a meeting place for members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which the U.S. has designated as global terrorist organization.

Despite the banning of the al-Quds moque this year, Hamburg still remains an “Invitation to Paradise” for radical Islam.

Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Great Mystery

Kevin Williamson disputes my characterization of his riposte. He writes: I wrote that people can choose what kind of work they want to do, and what kind of services they want to consume, without any help from Michael. Kevin then accuses me of being a stouthearted defender of the “Real America.” If ... Read More
Religion

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More
Culture

An Insider’s Guide to Italian Insults

The tragicomic irony of Chris Cuomo’s pugilistic outburst earlier this week — cursing and physically threatening a man for taunting him with a reference to the movie The Godfather — is that the CNN anchor reinforced the usual tropes about Italian Americans. We are all wise-guys, goons, and Mafiosi, just ... Read More