Turkish academic: German Muslims most targeted by racist attacks (interview)

BY|Anadolu Agency

German report: 90 percent of people in Germany believe there is racism in the country.
There are about 22,000 far-right attacks in Germany each year
**Professor at Istina University, Turkey, Osman Jan Onver:

Racism based on religion and race appeared in the eighties in Germany and increased later

Anti-Turks and Muslims in Germany have reached levels that almost captivate German public opinion

Attacks on Islamic values in many parts of Europe were welcomed by the far right and racists in Germany

“Animosity towards Turks and Muslims has reached levels that almost captivate public opinion in Germany,” said Osman Jan Unver, a professor at the Turkish University of Istina.

He pointed out that the Turkish Muslim community is the first target in racism incidents in the European country.

This came in an interview with Anadolu Agency, commenting on a German report that showed that Muslims are the most vulnerable groups in German society to racism and discrimination compared to Christians and non-religious people.

On January 11, Reem Elabali Radovan, Minister of State for Migration, Refugees and Integration in the German federal government, announced the report, which indicated that 90 percent of people in Germany believe there is racism in the country.

The report stated that there are approximately 22,000 far-right attacks each year in Germany, with a crime occurring every 24 minutes committed by the far-right.

In this regard, Onver said, “Racism based on faith and race appeared in the eighties of the last century in Germany and has increased over the years.”

He added that hostility to Turks and Muslims in Germany has reached levels today that almost captivate German public opinion.

Unver added: “The report can be interpreted as the desire of the current coalition government to deal with the problem of racism more effectively (…) Some conservative media in Germany did not deal kindly with the report.”

He continued, “It is important to include the concept of anti-Islamic racism in the report, but the mention of integration in one part of the report may suggest that the cause of racism is immigrants who cannot integrate (…) Unfortunately, I do not think that the report will be fully accepted by the German government and will convert it into an executive document”

He pointed out that according to the report, Muslims are exposed to racism by 55 percent more than Christians and those who do not believe in any religion.

The university professor pointed out that the Turkish Muslim community is the first target in incidents of racism in Germany, indicating that the large number of the community and its dynamic structure, especially modern entrepreneurship, reinforced the anti-German people’s view towards it.

He stated that a growing rejection of ethnic, cultural and religious affiliation is rampant in Germany.

He said, “The increase in the emergence of Islamic identity in the past thirty-five and forty years has made Islam and Muslims a direct target of racist attacks, and the increase in the number of Arab refugees in Germany in recent years has occupied the public’s agenda more.”

He continued, “The fact that Arabs are mostly Muslims makes them subject to the same treatment without distinction between Turks or Arabs.”

He stated that the report indicates that 732 racist attacks were recorded in the country in 2021, 54 of which targeted places of worship, mosques, or buildings belonging to the Muslim community, and that these attacks are linked to the extreme right and neo-Nazis.

Unver pointed out that there are cases of racism that are not reported due to threats and pressures, as much as the reported racist cases.

He said the reasons for this were the neglect of the phenomenon of xenophobia in Germany, the failure to take sufficient effective measures, and the failure of the authorities to prevent institutional racism.

He added, “The increase and institutionalization of racism in Germany and the development of political culture in this direction have strengthened the far right and the neo-Nazi movement that is part of it.”

“The attacks on Islamic values in many parts of Europe have been welcomed by the far right and racists in Germany,” Unfer said.

He demanded that the German government take the necessary precautions and measures regarding possible attacks targeting the Holy Quran, similar to what happened in The Hague in the Netherlands and Stockholm in Sweden recently.

He pointed out that due to the presence of the largest number of Muslims in Europe in Germany, it is also the birthplace of the Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), indicating that the number of sympathizers in Germany cannot be underestimated with the attacks targeting the Qur’an in Sweden and the Netherlands.

He pointed out that the German government is not comfortable with the possibility of turning this sympathy into action, and is concerned that this situation will seriously disrupt German internal peace.

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