Last week, Rhineland-Palatinate’s Interior minister Jochen Hartloff (SPD) ignited a huge media debate after he declared his support for Sharia Law in Germany – however, in a “modern form”. In an interview with the Berlin tabloid BZ, Hartloff said that some aspects of Sharia-law could have a place in Germany, particularly in civil cases relating to marriage and divorce settlements, but also in certain instances of contract law, in which devout Muslims seek to avoid paying interest. According to Hartloff, applying sharia rules such cases could help avoid hostility.
Reactions to his comments, however, have not been supportive and criticism has been fierce. Most commentators, such as Hesse’s justice minister Jörg-Uwe Hahn, stressed that Germany did not need special Islamic courts, which would foster a sense of parallel justice system. Furthermore, as many people in the West associate Sharia law with brutal punishments and human rights violations, some people commented that there was no room for a barbarous and human law system. However, these people overlook elements of Sharia law that are less horrifying.
3 February 2010
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has called on the chancellors of both Austria and Germany to prohibit the new Turkish film, “Valley of the Wolves: Palestine,” characterizing it an “immediate danger to Muslim-Jewish relations.” Originally a popular Turkish TV series which has since been made into a number of movies, this latest one has been denounced as a “hate film” by Shimon Samuels, the director of international affairs of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. One of the last of the series, “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq,” equally created controversy for its portrayal of a Jewish-American army doctor involved in organ trafficking.
The President of the Vienna Israelite Community (IKG) Ariel Muzicant has equally criticized the “telling silence” of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGiÖ) on the subject, calling it “unacceptable,” while stating that is it further proof that the IGGiÖ “is not interested in any kind of open interconfessional dialogue.” The President of the IGGiÖ Anas Schakfeh has responded by saying that Muzicant’s criticism is “absurd:” not only does the IGGiÖ not have the authority to prohibit the screening of a move, but it cannot either take responsibility “for everything, that occurs in the Islamic world.” Moreover, Schakfeh contented that the IGGiÖ was always open for interreligious dialogue, and that it had been the IKG which had unilaterally ended dialogue some time ago.
The movie was equally defended by the far-right Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), which denounced attempts to “censure art and culture,” and which defended the film on the grounds of promoting “a critical discourse” on even in the Middle East.
There are roughly 700 people in Germany who the interior ministry believes may be involved in extremist Islam circles, the ministry’s deputy head said. Of the some 700 people in Germany suspected of being Islamic terrorists, a “double digit” number of them have been classified by the country’s 16 states as dangerous and are “under especially intense surveillance,” Hanning said. Radical Islamists in Germany have also taken part in terror training camps in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, added Hanning, who previously served as the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency.
Terrorists’ targets tend to be crowded, public areas that are difficult to secure, Deputy Interior Minister August Hanning told the Sunday, Nov. 2, edition of Berlin’s BZ am Sonntag. “Suspects plan inhuman forms of attacks against so-called soft targets,” he told the paper in comments made available ahead of publication.
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