BERLIN: Germany’s interior minister today urged Muslim groups in the country to explicitly condemn the deadly Oct 7 attacks by Hamas against and to voice solidarity with Israel.
The nation is home to about 5.5 million Muslims, making up the second biggest religious group.
“I expect the Muslim organisations to clearly position themselves and uphold their responsibilities in society,” interior minister Nancy Faeser said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD.
The groups need to “clearly condemn” the attack by Hamas, and not just with a “yes, but”, she said.
“It must be very clear, we stand by Israel’s side,” added Faeser.
Some Muslim groups have indeed “lived up to their responsibilities”, she said, adding however that “some have not”.
The voices “defending our values” must get louder, said the minister ahead of a conference gathering German politicians, Muslim groups and representatives of the Christian and Jewish communities.
Battling antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism are the main themes of the two-day meeting, which is held against the backdrop of tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.
Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, during cross-border raids on Oct 7 – the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.
In retaliation, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas.
According to the Hamas government, the war has killed more than 13,300 people, thousands of them children.
Large pro-Palestinian marches have been held in major cities across Germany in recent weeks, with some leading to dozens of arrests over antisemitic action.
Germany is home to some 45 million Christians – including Protestants and Catholics, while around 200,000 Jews live in the country.