Lower Saxony: Muslim Organisations Criticize De-Radicalisation Programme

08./09.03.2012

Last week, Lower Saxony’s interior minister Uwe Schünemann presented his proposal for a de-

radicalisation programme designed to prevent young Muslims from being lured into extremist

groups. With his proposal, Schünemann continues his hardliner course on extremism and terrorism;

in 2010, he had already proposed a plan to fight an increasing terror threat, which was meant to lead

to a national action plan for inner security.

Schünemann’s most recent proposal is based on a close partnership between security services and,

for instance, mosques, city councils, youth services, foreign offices, and social services. An important

element of the proposal is the possibility to exchange personal information about individuals

suspected to support religious extremism or even terrorism. In addition, Schünemann is planning

on making employers more aware of and receptive to radicalisation processes amongst their staff.

Overall, Schünemann’s proposal is reminiscent of the highly controversial “security partnership”

proposed by federal minister of the interior Friedrich at the Islam Conference in 2011.

When he initially presented the programme last week, Schünemann claimed that it had been

developed in close cooperation with Muslim communities and organisations. However, the two

Muslim organisations Ditib and Schura countered that they were only included in the development of

the programme when they demanded to be involved after they had heard about it by chance. Their

critical remarks, however, were not considered in the development of the proposal.

After its presentation, the Muslim organisations heavily criticized Schünemann’s proposal, as it

places Muslims under general suspicion. Ditib and Schura distanced themselves from the programme

and expressed their rather sceptical stance.