A recent study shows that Muslims are often negatively portrayed in the German media. Is this really the case? The research indicates that this trend has been in evidence since 9/11. Klaudia Prevezanos has the details
For years, the terms “doner murders” and “Turkish mafia” were used by German media in reports about a series of attacks that resulted in the murder of nine Turkish and Greek immigrants. In November 2011, it emerged that the murders were probably committed by an extreme right-wing terror cell calling itself the National Socialist Underground, or NSU.
For Semiya Simsek, the daughter of the first victim, these are “thoughtless, cynical and racist” terms. She has written a book about the murder of her father, Enver, titled Schmerzliche Heimat (Painful Homeland). “Now everyone realizes that these are racist terms, but that wasn’t the case back then,” she says today, referring to the conduct of the media since it became clear that the killers were driven by right-wing motives and that the murders were not related to criminal activities within the victims’ families. The NSU trial is set to begin on 6 May 2013 in Munich.
Erol Pürlü, speaker of the coordination council of Muslims, thanked the German commission of inquiry for its efforts to shed light to unsolved questions related to the right-wing terror series. He criticized the distorted picture of Islam in the public, which would enhance the stigmatization of Muslims.
Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, demanded consequences after the terror series of the NSU (National Socialist Underground). The right-wing motivated terrorist attacks against Muslims would be the “German September 11th”. Mazyek raised concerns about the belittlement of society toward right-wing extremism and ignorance toward daily racism against Muslims.
Federal President Joachim Gauck has refused to meet bereaved family members of the victims murdered by the right-wing terrorist group NSU (National Socialist Underground). The Turkish community had welcomed a meeting but the Office of the Federal President refused it.
Kenan Kolat, representative of the Turkish community criticized the reaction of the Federal President. “The President should set a sign. Many family members of the victims would have been disappointed by the results of the commission of inquiry.”
The reaction of President Gauck is peculiar. He condemned the NSU series of murders but did not take a clear stand in favor of the victims. In contrast to his predecessor Christian Wulff (CDU), Gauck refused to recognize Islam as an integral part of Germany. He has underlined the “strangeness” of Islam and its differences to the German and European identity. He related it to the historical strangeness of Western democracies towards Communism. President Gauck has shown understanding for the fear of Germans towards Islam and Muslim immigrants.
Following the shootings at a Jewish school in Toulouse last Monday and the subsequent killing of the Muslim gunman, an al-Qaeda sympathiser, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany expressed their sympathy for the victims’ families and friends. At the same time, the Head of the Council, Aiman Mazyek, compared the attacks to the right-wing extremist group NSU in Germany and expressed his concern that the events may encourage copycats. He called on the police to increase the surveillance of Islamic centres and institutions.