Ripples from Middle Eastern Islamic unrest were felt in Germany last week as hundreds of jihadist supporters turned downtown Hamburg into a warzone:
The unrest began on the evening of October 7, when around 400 Kurds gathered outside the Al-Nour mosque near the central train station in Hamburg's St. George district to protest against IS attacks on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.
According to police, the initially peaceful protest turned violent when the Kurds were confronted by a rival group of around 400 Salafists armed with baseball bats, brass knuckles, knives, machetes and metal rods used to hold meat in kebab restaurants.
In the melee that followed, more than a dozen people were injured, including one person who nearly had his leg chopped off by someone wielding a machete, and another person who was stabbed in the stomach with a kebab rod.
Some 1,300 police officers, brandishing batons and accompanied by water cannons, were deployed to halt the clashes, which lasted into the early morning hours of October 8. In the final tally, hundreds of weapons were seized and 22 people were arrested.
Police said they were shocked by what they described as an unprecedented level of violence.
On the same day nine people were injured in the north-western German town of Celle when Muslim preachers called for Islamists to confront the non-Muslim Yazidis population. On October 9th a small group of Kurdish protesters occupied the offices of the Christian Social Union party. The protest ended peacefully. In the Germany city of Wuppertal, considered a Salafists stronghold, Muslim thugs patrol the city imposing the Sharia ban on alcohol and concerts.
German intelligence agencies estimate as many as 30 active Islamist groups numbering 43,000 recruits among Germany's 4.3 million Muslims. Of particular concern is the radically anti-Western Salafist sect who are radicalizing young alienated Muslims and sent a number of death threats to German politicians:
One such politician, Tobias Huch of the (classical liberal) Free Democratic Party [FDP], has been repeatedly threatened with beheading as the price to pay for leading a fundraising campaign to provide food and water for Kurds in northern Iraq.A natural response to such escalating patterns is distinguishing between the radicals and the peaceful Muslim majority who simply wish to live their lives. While this may temper overreaction, it hardly justifies inaction as moderate Muslims are either unwilling or unable to combat the growing radicalism within their communities. For years German officials have quietly encouraged German Islamists to travel abroad. This policy may be backfiring as Islamists fighting in Syria and Iraq are now returning to German soil.
"I am not afraid, but I have become more careful," says Huch, who now receives police protection. He says he has altered his daily comings and goings in order to be less predictable. Among other lifestyle changes, he has cut out regular visits to restaurants, pubs and other public venues.
Another politician, Ismail Tipi of the ruling CDU, is paying the price for criticizing the rise of Salafism in Germany. "I receive threats almost every day," Tipi says. "The death threats against me have no limits. The Salafists want to behead me, shoot me, stone me, execute me and they have many other death wishes for me."
Is it now time to end Islamic immigration into Europe and exiling the radicals? What alternative solutions exist?
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