German Christian Democrat raps Salafi plan to distribute free Korans
A leader of Germany’s ruling party has criticised plans of an ultra-conservative Muslim group to hand out millions of copies of the Koran, calling it a threat to religious peace.
The Salafist Muslim group “The True Religion” intends to distribute 25 million free German translations of the Koran to non-Muslims in Germany as well as in prisons, mosques, hospitals and schools.
“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 on Wednesday, 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.
“Wherever possible this aggressive campaign must be stopped,” he told the newspaper, saying the plans were obviously intended for the copies to end up in German schools.
The plans by the Salafist school of 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 4 million.
German media reported that supporters of the group set up information stands handing out German-language versions of the Koran in more than 30 cities during the Easter weekend, including Berlin, Duesseldorf and Hamburg.
National daily Die Welt said that around 300,000 copies had been distributed so far.
Ibrahim 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 neighbours.
“If every Muslim does that then within a year we will have supplied every person in Germany with a Koran translation and they will not label us as terrorists or radicals or anything else, when they read Allah’s book,” he said.
Speaking in the same video, Abu Nagie said the first 20,000 copies were financed by two Turkish people, and that he had rejected financial support from organisations in Bahrain.