Of course, the prime minister of a multi-religious country should look after all his fellow citizens – including the Muslims. In this respect, it is a good tradition that the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia invites Muslims to his state chancellery every year at the beginning of the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, to dine and drink with them. That's what happened on Tuesday. But there it became apparent that a good gesture can mutate into a devastating signal – if the wrong Muslims are sitting at the table. For example, representatives of associations that are home to Erdoganists, Turkish nationalists and Islamists.
Hendrik Wüst praised the breaking of the fast as an opportunity "to talk to each other, to get to know and understand each other better". That's the way it is. Contacts are made at this meeting, and trust is created, which is the basis for future cooperation between representatives of politics, churches, the Jewish community and Muslim organizations. To put it bluntly, Wüst helps Erdoganists, Turkish nationalists and the like with networking. This is fatal.
Honorable reform Muslims and Alevis who are loyal to the constitution were also among those invited. The guest list, which the State Chancellery only presented when WELT asked, also included members of extremely problematic associations. One of them is the regional association of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD). The country has so far excluded him from helping to shape Islamic religious education, which is why the ZMD is suing the country. The Islamic Center Hamburg is apparently still a member of the ZMD (the ZMD keeps its exact membership list secret).
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution characterizes it as an “outpost of Tehran bound by instructions”, i.e. as a dependency of the theocratic dictatorship in Iran. According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Islamic Center Hamburg spreads anti-democratic and anti-Semitic hate speech. The ATIB organization also belongs to the Central Council. ATIB counts towards the Gray Wolves movement. These are the Turkish right-wing radicals, from whose ranks people like to rant about Turkish dominance and the mission to rule the world.
The Islamic Religious Community of North Rhine-Westphalia was also one of the invited guests. She is a member of the Islamic Council, which is dominated by the Milli Görüs movement. And the Office for the Protection of the Constitution also observes them because they are based on a founding figure who is classified as outspoken Islamist and anti-Semitic. DITIB representatives were also invited. This association is controlled more or less directly by the Turkish government and thus by the autocratic-nationalist President Erdogan. And all three, DITIB, Milli Görüs and ATIB, have repeatedly appeared in this country as Erdogan's extended arm.
In short: Wüst remains true to the tradition that his predecessors Armin Laschet and partially Hannelore Kraft founded in NRW. He relies on purring instead of hissing at radical contemporaries, provided they can show Muslim faith and immigration history. Apparently he still believes in a kind of change through rapprochement. He hopes that the dialogue could also shake the prejudices of one or the other believer in concrete.
This hope has been nurtured in Germany for decades - but without resounding success in the eyes of Islamists and Turkish radical nationalists, as the reports from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution suggest. Ali Ertan Toprak, President of the Federal Working Group of Immigrant Associations, also tends to ask whether German politics is not obliged to fight all right-wing extremists indiscriminately - regardless of their origin.
Now Wüst could defend himself, at least the country has been working with DITIB and the Islamrat for Islamic religious education for a long time. Then why not break the fast together? The answer is simple: The fact that Wüst believes that such associations can be used to shape the teaching of German schools is still bad. The fact that he also throws parties for these groups, where people get to know each other in a friendly way - that should completely upset some Democrats.