FOLLOWUP: Germany says no Sharia law
“Sharia law is not tolerated on German soil“
– Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere
Last week we reported on a story from Wuppertal, Germany about a group of Muslims photographed with “Sharia Police” vests. According to several news accounts, a Salafist group was patrolling the streets to recruit new members and lecture people they determined were violating Sharia law. The story was featured on a number websites and blogs, some sites even implying that the photograph was proof of an established Islamic “No Go” zone in Wuppertal. We noted that the reported actions were considered illegal and criminal charges were being considered against the group.
This week the following story was published by the Deutsche Welle (DW) media group:
Germany won’t tolerate ‘Sharia police’
The German government has strongly criticized nightly patrols in the city of Wuppertal by men calling themselves “Sharia police.” The 33-year-old behind the patrols claimed that their goal was only to raise attention.
Conservative members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition put forward a united front at the weekend against recent developments in the city of Wuppertal. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said civilians wearing uniforms bearing the logo “Shariah police” could not simply start patrolling German streets.
The groups reportedly hovered around sites like discotheques and gambling houses, telling passers-by to refrain from gambling and alcohol. Wuppertal’s police have begun pressing charges.
“Sharia law is not tolerated on German soil,” de Maiziere told mass-circulation daily Bild on Saturday. “Nobody can take it upon themselves to abuse the good name of the German police.”
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, meanwhile, told Bild that “the state alone” was responsible for the administration of justice in Germany. It was obvious, Maas said, that any illegal parallel system of law enforcement would not be tolerated. Christian Democrat party whip Volker Kauder was similarly emphatic in an interview to be published in this week’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“Under absolutely no circumstances can we tolerate self-styled ‘Sharia police officers’ patrolling our streets and dictating what people should or should not do,” Kauder said.
The DW story noted that the person behind the Sharia patrols is Sven Lau, a 33 year old former firefighter. Lau, a Muslim convert, is a leading member of Germany’s Salafist movement and known to German security services. From DW:
Lau said that a “Sharia police” never existed, and that a group of men had simply worn the mock uniforms for a few hours. “We knew that this would raise attention,” Lau said, claiming that his goal was to spark a debate about Sharia law in Germany.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: European nations and the U.K. certainly have a growing threat being posed by Islamists pushing a Sharia based agenda that conflicts with established secular governments. It would be a mistake, however, to equate incidents in Germany as being comparable to reported “no go” zones found in France and Scandinavia. As we pointed out in our previous report, the German government regularly investigates/prosecutes Salafist activities as they would any group viewed as a threat to the German constitution. Additionally, a well placed source in Germany informed us it was inconceivable that authorities would ever tolerate a group wearing clothing/uniforms that identified them as police – it’s a clear violation of German law.
We have some doubts that media attention was the original goal behind the actions of Lau and his group, but if it was, the end results may have not been what was expected. Attempts have been made to remove any copies of the You Tube video showing the “Sharia Police” in action citing copyright violations. The original video was removed from the groups You Tube site. New videos have been posted by Lau, attempting to explain the incident away and stating there is no “Sharia Police.” These resemble attempts at damage control for fear of prosecution instead of encouraging debate.
Some additional information on Sven Lau has been reported on www.globaljihad.net