Islamists to hand out millions of Korans in Germany
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
Media: Security agency says Gulf state financing effort.
BERLIN – Salafist Muslims launched a concerted campaign in Germany on Saturday
and Sunday aimed at distributing 25 million free Korans across German
German media reported on Sunday that the Office for the
Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency –
suspects that either the government of Saudi Arabia or Qatar has financed the
German Salafist plan to spread Korans in the Federal Republic.
Palestinian-born preacher Ibrahim Abu Nagie is spearheading the action to
inculcate German-speaking pedestrians in cities with a radical form of
The Salafist strand of Islam propagates a strict adherence to the
Koran, and the fundamentalist group divides the world into believers and
non-believers of Islam. Salafists aim to convert non-believers to their form of
In an interview with the magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday,
Hans-Werner Wargel, the head of the Lower Saxony state government’s domestic
intelligence service, said: “I assume that there are external financiers” for
the distribution of Korans. He added that, “We have knowledge that in the past
financial streams for Salafist networks in Germany came from the Arabian
According to an article in Die Welt on Saturday, the
journalist Florian Fade quoted the Salafist Abu Nagie saying, “If someone says:
I want to follow the Bible. Will he enter Paradise? Never, he will forever go to
hell!” According to an intelligence agency document obtained by Die Welt, Abu
Nagie said “Imagine if all of Germany and Europe were to be
The Christian Democratic Union party interior expert Wolfgang
Bosbach told the Passauer Neue Presse that though it is legally difficult to ban
the action “the local authorities should examine in each case if a permit needs
to be issued or if there is a violation of public order and security.” Bosbach
added that for the Salafists it is not only promotion for religious convictions
“rather the promotion of a radical political ideology that is not compatible
with a free democratic system.”
German media reported that the city of
Ludwigshafen prohibited the distribution of Korans, noting that the Muslim group
had not obtained a permit in a timely manner for public space.
Salafists have distributed so far about 300,000 Korans in Germany. In addition
to setting up stands in the pedestrian zones of German cities, the Islamists are
passing out Korans in Austria and Switzerland. The chief sponsor and organizer
of the Koran hand-out action is Cologne-based businessman Ibrahim Abu Nagie and
his “True Religion” group.
Abu Nagie, a Salafist preacher, speaking in an
undated video on the group’s website, urged all German Muslims to hand out
copies to their neighbors.
Speaking on the video, Abu Nagie said the
first 20,000 copies were financed by two Turkish people, and that he had
rejected financial support from organizations in Bahrain as they wanted to
“write their names in the book.”
The plans by the Salafist school of
Sunni Islam, which has its roots in Saudi Arabia, have re-ignited debate in the
German media about Islam and the integration of the country’s Turkish population
of four million.
“There is little in principle against the distribution
of religious works,” Guenter Krings, vice chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
Christian Democrats, told the Rheinische Post newspaper, but added that this
depended on the distributor.
“The radical Salafist group is disturbing
the religious peace in our country with their aggressive approach,” he
The growing presence of Salafism in the Federal Republic has
alarmed security officials. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency,
Verfassungsschutz, has monitored the activities of “Invitation to Paradise”
members, who advocate a Salafist version of Islam that calls for the
decapitation of non-believers and the imprisonment of women in
Reuters contributed to this report.