Islamists to hand out millions of Korans in Germany

Media: Security agency says Gulf state financing effort.

Koran 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Koran 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
BERLIN – Salafist Muslims launched a concerted campaign in Germany on Saturday and Sunday aimed at distributing 25 million free Korans across German cities.
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.
The Palestinian-born preacher Ibrahim Abu Nagie is spearheading the action to inculcate German-speaking pedestrians in cities with a radical form of Islam.
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 radical Islam.
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 Peninsula.”
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 Islamized.”
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.
The 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 said.
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 burqas.
Reuters contributed to this report.