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“The caliphate is the solution”: in Germany, the political class is up in arms after an Islamist demonstration

“Those who want a caliphate are in the wrong place in Germany.

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“The caliphate is the solution”: in Germany, the political class is up in arms after an Islamist demonstration

“Those who want a caliphate are in the wrong place in Germany.” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser herself reacted on Sunday the day after a demonstration by Islamists in Germany, which brought together more than 1,000 people in Hamburg. The one who before becoming a minister was an elected official of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) also described the gathering as “difficult to bear”.

According to the German press, the rally, which took place on Saturday, was held at the call of the “Muslim Interaktiv” association, whose logo was present on numerous signs. 1,100 men gathered at the end of the afternoon, reports the local newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost, followed separately by 80 women. “Many demonstrators wore hoodies with the words ‘Caliphate’ on them,” the newspaper reported. “Organizers were busy filming to create videos for TikTok.”

In these same images which made the rounds on social networks, we can see the crowd brandishing signs reproaching the media by name for their “Islamophobia”, particularly regarding the conflict in Gaza. The demonstrators thus expressed their support for the Palestinians demanding the “truth” instead of “fake news”. But the main reason for the demonstration was above all the situation of Muslims in Germany, who would suffer a “dictatorship of values” which would endanger Islam.

“The caliphate is the solution,” we could read on some posters. Signs also displayed the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith (“there is no God but God, and Mohammed is his prophet”) when other demonstrators raised their fingers, a gesture expressing Tawhid, the dogma Islamic concept of a unique and unequaled God, often taken up by Islamists.

On federal television ZDF, the Hamburg police chief declared that an investigation had been opened to verify the compliance of the various posters and slogans with the law. The demonstration took place peacefully, but aroused strong disapproval from the German political class.

Unsurprisingly, the CDU called the protest a “disgrace.” One of his spokespersons asked people who call for a caliphate to “leave the country as quickly as possible”. “The rule of law must finally defend itself and show strength,” party general secretary Carsten Linnemann declared to the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

“This is just one event among many other worrying developments in Germany,” Alix Weidel, leader of the radical right AFD, wrote on X, addressing Elon Musk who asked in a tweet whether demanding the overthrow of the German government was legal in the country. “Do not hesitate to come see me at my office in the Bundestag as soon as possible to talk about it in more detail,” she also replied to the American billionaire.

The Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) recalled that a foreigner “whose stay endangers the fundamental, free and democratic order in Germany may be expelled”. “Anyone who demands during a demonstration the abolition of fundamental rights such as freedom of the press meets this demand,” explained the vice-president of the party's parliamentary group.

“The 'Muslim Interaktiv' group is close to the banned Islamist organization 'Hizb ut-Tahrir' and has long campaigned for the establishment of a caliphate,” a spokesperson for the group explained in the newspaper Die Welt. main environmentalist party, Lamya Kaddor, calling for “to implement as quickly as possible a ban on associations” close to this organization.

According to German authorities, Muslim Interaktiv is in fact close to the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, the Islamic Liberation Party, a transnational Islamist organization stemming from the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter, created in 1954 in East Jerusalem, is “a political-religious movement aiming to unite all Muslims in a global caliphate”, details an OFPRA note published in 2022. The group was banned in Germany in 2003 .

Since its appearance in 2020, Muslim Interaktiv has effectively taken up the demands of its elder by using language similar to the Islamic Liberation Party, denouncing for example “forced assimilation”, “defamation of Islam”, “demonization of Muslims” or even the “dictatorship of values”. The German authorities underline “an obvious parallel” between the two organizations.

Muslim Interaktiv also presents itself on social networks as an “association of Muslims who have set themselves the objective of presenting Islam as a complete way of life to Muslims living in Germany and of encouraging them to practice Islam in all areas of life.

In any case, this is not the first time that the group has been talked about. The organization has already distinguished itself in particularly evocative street demonstrations. In October 2020, a few days after the beheading of Samuel Paty, the group organized a demonstration near the French embassy in Berlin to protest the attack on two Muslim women in Paris.

“It’s not Islam, but France that is in crisis!” was written on a banner displayed by the demonstrators who had also chosen to target France by speaking of “Algerian genocide” or even “exploitation in Mali”. During the Israeli-Palestinian crisis in May 2021, 200 people marched in a row, Islamic flags brandished high, calling the Jewish state a “child killer”.

The group has since multiplied its actions, alternating in its modes of action between demonstrations in tight ranks, necessarily impressive, more traditional mobilizations or processions of cars to paralyze traffic, always calling for the establishment of a caliphate by the establishment of Sharia law in Germany.

By February 2023, the group had mobilized more than 3,500 people to protest against the Koran burning in Sweden. Last November again, Muslim Interaktiv also marched in the city of Essen, provoking strong political reactions and questions about the place given to opponents of democracy in the public debate.

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