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"Do not confuse demarcation from the IZH with rejection of Islam"

In connection with the protests in Iran, the state chairwoman of the Hamburg Greens, Maryam Blumenthal, has called for a clear positioning towards the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH).

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"Do not confuse demarcation from the IZH with rejection of Islam"

In connection with the protests in Iran, the state chairwoman of the Hamburg Greens, Maryam Blumenthal, has called for a clear positioning towards the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH). The violent action taken by security forces against demonstrators in their home country must have consequences, and the perpetrators must be prosecuted. "I have no tolerance for the mullahs' regime - not even in Hamburg," says Blumenthal, who was born in Iran in 1985.

It was already known before the protests that the IZH was considered an extension of Tehran's arm. Her party is also working intensively on the subject with a view to evaluating the State Treaty on Islam in Hamburg. "The focus is on the question of whether the IZH can continue to play a role in connection with the contracts with the city of Hamburg," emphasizes Blumenthal. She says: "We are currently working on a motion for our party congress in November that will answer this question clearly and unequivocally with no."

Signed in November 2012, the Islamic State Treaty is extremely controversial because of the involvement of the Islamic Center Hamburg. The IZH, which is classified as extremist and operates the Blue Mosque on the Alster, has been mentioned in the intelligence report since 1993 because its Islamist efforts are directed against the free democratic basic order.

But the IZH is also a member of the Schura state association, which, as the council of Islamic communities, signed the state treaty with the city together with the Ditib state association and the association of Islamic cultural centers.

Hamburg's Greens stand "firmly on the side of everyone who campaigns for freedom and human rights and fights against oppression," said Blumenthal. But, and this is just as important to her, "the clear distinction between the IZH and the mullah regime must not be confused with a general rejection of Islam."

The head of the Greens, Omid Nouripour, also wants to put an end to the activities of the IZH: "On a national level, we must finally put a stop to the 'Islamic Center Hamburg': This center is the regime's most important spy nest in Germany and is also harassing many Iranians in this country." It is probably also responsible for spying on the opposition in exile. The leader is sent by the regime from Iran. "The center even organizes funeral services for Islamist war criminals in the middle of Germany," the Green leader told Der Spiegel.

When her family fled Iran, Maryam Blumenthal was still a child, just two years old, and her first stop in Germany was an asylum home. She came to Hamburg at the age of 13, lived for 16 years in a high-rise building in the problem district of Steilshoop, received Hartz IV to give them freedom and self-determination,” writes Hamburg’s Green Party leader on Facebook these days. Her mother's youth was "overshadowed by the Cultural Revolution and suppressed women's rights".

Nevertheless, Blumenthal almost always spent her summer holidays in Iran and herself had “frightening experiences as a woman with the moral police”, always with “worries about escalation”. This is exactly what the mullah regime is doing: “It is politicizing the Islamic concept of veiling with the aim of keeping people small and fearful. The headscarf is used as a political symbol with which the regime legitimizes itself.” Blumenthal criticizes that this is a “deviant politicization of the female body”.

The trigger for the current protests in Iran is the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She was arrested by the Morality Police for violating the strict Islamic dress code and died on September 16 under unclear circumstances. The demonstrators speak of police violence, which the authorities firmly reject. According to activists, at least 76 people have died so far.

"In Iran we are experiencing an authoritarian women's policy that claims the decisions of women's rights for itself and suppresses independent women's movements, if necessary even accepting death," says Blumenthal, adding: "The Islamic Republic of Iran is a patriarchal system of hetero-cis men for straight cis men.”

Since the recent unrest in Iran, there have also been demonstrations, vigils and rallies in Hamburg, many people are showing solidarity with the protest movement in Iran and are demanding consequences for the regime. "I'm also taking to the streets these days to show my solidarity with the courageous women who are fighting for their rights in Iran and are risking their lives to do so," explains Blumenthal, who now lives in the well-off forest villages as a married mother of three , works as a vocational school teacher and has been leading the Elb-Greens since May 2021.

The courageous women in Iran fought for a self-determined life, for their freedom and thus for human rights. Many men stand by her side. "Where women are oppressed and belittled, human rights are disregarded," said Blumenthal.

From the 37-year-old's point of view, it is crucial to take to the streets around the world now and keep the situation of women in Iran on the agenda. “Because we can be the voice of those who are supposed to be silenced in Iran.” The pictures from Iran in which women burn their headscarves and men protest with them, side by side, give her a lot of courage. "There have been many such moments of hope in Iran," says Blumenthal, "but this time, for the first time, this fight is being led by women - that's the Achilles' heel of the patriarchal mullah regime."

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