A screen grab taken from video footage shows special forces police officers walking along a street outside the Olympia shopping mall following a shooting rampage in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
It was “only a matter of time” until terrorists struck Germany, the head Munich’s Jewish community leader said following Friday’s attack at a shopping mall in the city in which a gunman killed nine and wounded 27 others.
“I am appalled and stunned,” said Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria.
“My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victims’ families, and with the wounded and their families.
“We were afraid it would only be a matter of time,” she continued.
The Munich attack, carried out by an 18-year-old Iranian- German, came four days after an 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker used an ax attack to wound four people on a train in Würzburg, an attack claimed by Islamic State.
Würzburg, like Munich, is in Bavaria.
Knobloch said that while Germany was now in a state of shock and horror, it must reflect on what can be done moving forward, to preserve its way of life and “to combat those who hate us for our values and want to destroy our freedom and democracy.
“One thing is certain, we will not be intimidated,” she said.
“There is uncertainty and concern, but more important than anything else is our unwavering commitment to our liberal beliefs.”
She added that she expects decisive and consistent action to be taken against extremists, noting that the Internet is a dangerous tool both in transmitting radical ideology and in providing guidance on how to carry out attacks.
Speaking on behalf of the Jewish community, she said: “We have for a long time known and felt, in particular, the extreme degree of anti-Semitism.”
Knobloch explained that as a result, the community takes a realistic view of the dangers, but that European societies are not prepared for the hate that racism, both from the Right and particularly from radical Islam, can stir. Europeans need to open their eyes to dangerous ways of thinking that for too long have laid out what is politically correct and publicly acceptable, and to the “anti-democratic and illiberal” opinions that are increasingly spreading within parts of European societies, she said.