German Muslims march against terror

22nd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 November 2004 , COLOGNE - More than 20,000 people, most of them Muslim, have demonstrated in Germany against terrorism and for world peace. The crowd held aloft a sea of Turkish, German and European Union flags during speeches in downtown Cologne at the end of a march. "We are against terrorism in all its forms," read many of the placards. Ridvan Cakir, chairman of Ditib, the Turkish Islamic religious institution that organized the rally, told the crowd: "Terrorism has neither a religion nor a nationali

22 November 2004

COLOGNE - More than 20,000 people, most of them Muslim, have demonstrated in Germany against terrorism and for world peace.

The crowd held aloft a sea of Turkish, German and European Union flags during speeches in downtown Cologne at the end of a march.

"We are against terrorism in all its forms," read many of the placards.

Ridvan Cakir, chairman of Ditib, the Turkish Islamic religious institution that organized the rally, told the crowd: "Terrorism has neither a religion nor a nationality of its own." He said Islam was a religion of peace.

Interior ministers of two German states, Guenther Beckstein of Bavaria and Fritz Behrens of North Rhine Westphalia, were other speakers.

The gathering came after a week of increasingly strident debate in Germany about Islamic fundamentalism.

Several centre-right politicians have demanded that imams should be required to preach in German only. They said this would put them above suspicion that they might be inciting hatred during sermons in Turkish or Arabic.

On Saturday, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) that rules Bavaria state demanded that welfare payments be withheld from foreigners who fail to learn German and adopt the German way of life.

The Jewish Cultural Association of Berlin voiced alarm at what it called "hysteria against Muslims". It said remarks during the week had brought anti-Islamic sentiment into the German mainstream.

Muhammad Sven Kalisch, Germany's first professor of Islamic studies, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa he was concerned that the difference between Islam and the Western world "is being so exaggerated in the way it is now".

He said attendance at fundamentalist mosques was not growing among the country's 3.2 million Muslims. The typical Moslem in Germany was not a fanatic but someone who had only the sketchiest idea of Islam and the Koran, he said.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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