Germany’s best known Islamic cleric, Pierre Vogel, delivered a pro-Islam speech in front of approximately 1100 sympathizers in Hamburg on Saturday, July 9th. Vogel is a Salafi-Muslim who is known for his strict (and fundamentalist) interpretation of Islam, his rejection of liberal ideals and religious diversity, as well as his sympathy for former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (as reported earlier). Unlike other cities or even countries (e.g. Vogel is forbidden to enter Switzerland and the city of Koblenz banned him from publicly speaking earlier this year), the city of Hamburg did not prohibit Vogel’s speech last week. However, prior to the event, which Vogel had advertised via various media sources, the Police imposed a number of specific conditions, such as restrictions on completely covering up and the separation of sexes.
For several hours, Vogel talked on an improvised “stage” on the back of a truck about the role (and oppression) of women in Islam, the hijab and niqab, as well as the German army’s mission in Afghanistan. After he had finished his speech, seven sympathizers came up to the stage and converted to Islam, which is indicative of Vogel’s charismatic appeal.