World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany’s Muslim organizations have urged authorities to ensure greater security for their institutions after a mosque in Dresden was attacked by a homemade explosive on Monday.
Ali Kizilkaya, Chairman of the Islamic Council in Germany, which received more than 1 million migrants in 2015, said the growing number of attacks targeting Muslim institutions in recent months has reached a “very worrisome point”.
“These attacks against mosques and religious institutions are worrisome developments with respect to freedoms, religious freedoms and democracy in Germany. Urgent measures should be taken to address this problem,” he told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
A mosque, run by a Turkish community in the eastern German city of Dresden, was attacked by a homemade explosive on Monday night, causing heavy damage to its door.
The imam, his wife and two children were at the mosque at the time of the attack, but they survived unharmed.
The largest union of Turkish community in Germany, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), has warned of a growing threat of violence, galvanized by the anti-Islam rhetoric of far-right and populist parties.
DITIB’s external relations director, Zekeriya Altug, said recent attacks have shown a new dangerous trend, as perpetrators’ actions could lead to people getting killed.
“In Dresden, the attack could cause loss of lives. Thank God, this did not happen,” he told Anadolu Agency.
It was the third attack within a week that targeted a mosque run by DITIB.
On Sunday, DITIB’s mosque in Bebra, a small town in central Germany, was attacked with Molotov cocktails.
Another mosque of DITIB in Schwabisch Gmünd, a small town in southern Germany, was vandalized by unknown suspects on the same day, who wrote insulting comments on the walls of the mosque.
Altug said the new wave of violence targeting Muslim institutions is fueled by politicians who exploit fears of the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks in Europe.
“Some politicians have begun to adopt an anti-Muslim propaganda with the hope of not losing votes to the far-right AfD. But this further encourages far-right extremists,” he said.
Last year, there were 99 attacks on mosques across Germany, according to the DITIB.
Most of them were incidents such as writing neo-Nazi slogans on the walls of the mosques, leaving pig’s head at the mosque complex, or arson attacks with Molotov cocktails.
Altug said the number of attacks has more than tripled since 2012, and would likely continue to increase this year, due to a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiments in recent years, triggered by the propaganda of far-right and populist parties.
Most of the 1 million refugees accepted by Europe's largest economy in 2015 were from war-ravaged Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
With a population of 81.8 million, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the 4 million Muslims in the country, 3 million are of Turkish origin.