German Muslim council says anti-Semitism is a 'sin'


The Central Council of Muslims in Germany has designated anti-Semitism a "sin".

"Anti-Semitism, racism and hatred are great sins in Islam, therefore we will also never tolerate that," council president Aiman Mazyek was quoted as saying by the Tuesday edition of local Dusseldorf newspaper Rheinische Post.

Mazyek was responding to comments at the weekend by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to an Israeli broadcaster that Germany is experiencing "new phenomena whereby refugees and other people of Arab origin that are bringing a different form of anti-Semitism into the country."

Mazyek said Merkel's comments had been "as usual differentiated" because she had stressed that anti-Semitism had not returned to Germany with the refugees; the crime statistics prove that, he said.

"However, we take it very seriously that there is anti-Semitism present among some refugees," Mazyek said, adding that the Muslim council was organising meetings between Jews and refugees as well as running educational programmes.

Part of this effort was regular joint visits to the memorial sites at former Nazi concentration camps.

A number of anti-Semitic attacks by Muslim people in Germany in recent weeks have caused outrage. A Jewish primary schoolgirl was bullied by older Muslim pupils at her Berlin school for "not believing in Allah" and had received death threats. The latest incident saw a perpetrator attack a man wearing a Jewish skullcap, or kippah, in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district while shouting "Yahudi," an Arabic word for Jew. The man who was attacked said later he was not Jewish, but an Arab Israeli.

The president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, on Tuesday advised Jews not to wear the kippah publicly in German cities. "To profess defiantly would in principle be the correct way," Schuster told regional broadcaster RBB. "Nonetheless, I would actually have to dissuade individuals from showing themselves openly with a kippah in a city environment."

With reference to a planned demonstration of solidarity with Berlin's Jewish community on Wednesday, dubbed "Berlin wears the kippah," Schuster said if blatant anti-Semitism could not be challenged successfully, then democracy is in danger.

"Because it is not just about anti-Semitism: Racism goes along with it and xenophobia also goes along with it. Here we require a clear stop sign," Schuster said.

Jewish kindergartens, schools and synagogues are already protected by police around the clock.    (dpa)

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