German Muslims rally against extremism

Muslims across Germany held a day of prayer and rallies on Friday to condemn both Islamic extremism and a backlash against their faith that has seen arson attacks on mosques.

AFP| Updated: Sep 20, 2014, 01:16 AM IST

Berlin: Muslims across Germany held a day of prayer and rallies on Friday to condemn both Islamic extremism and a backlash against their faith that has seen arson attacks on mosques.

Some 2,000 mosques joined the event "Muslims against hatred and injustice" organised by Germany's four main Islamic groups, together with government ministers, lawmakers, Christian and Jewish leaders and city mayors.

In Berlin, thousands of faithful knelt on prayer mats under the open sky in the inner-city Turkish and Arabic community hub of Kreuzberg, before listening to speeches in favour of tolerance and against violent jihadism.

"We are seeing how people in the name of Allah commit atrocities, torture others, drive them from their homes and murder them," said a statement read out in mosques across Germany.

"They are acting under the banner of the Prophet, but their crimes show that they have not understood a word of what Allah has revealed to us and how our Prophet lived by these commandments."

The Coordination Council of Muslims, which released the speech, also bemoaned a backlash against their religion in Germany, sparked by conflicts in the Middle East.

"We are seeing our mosques in Germany being attacked and set on fire," said the speech, which said there had been 80 incidents targeting Muslim houses of worship since 2012.

Muslim communities in Germany were "worried and unsettled about being increasingly marginalised as Muslims and treated with hostility."