Last weekend, thousands of people marched through the city centers in pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Berlin, Essen and Düsseldorf. Many obviously radical Islamists and anti-Semites gathered in Essen in particular. They waved flags of the so-called Islamic State and openly expressed their desire for a caliphate in Germany.
Burda Forward editor-in-chief Carsten Fiedler drew an alarming conclusion in his commentary for FOCUS online: “Under the guise of alleged expressions of solidarity with Palestine, many radical Islamists are about much more. Their aim is to destabilize our democracy and our free society. Apparently some of the most radical even sense the opportunity to turn Israel’s military response to Hamas’ atrocities into a global Islamic religious war.”
FOCUS online readers are also concerned with the demonstrations and their impact on life in Germany. Many users agree with Fiedler’s assessment, such as Beate Schmidt: “This is nothing more than an open declaration of war on our values, our way of life and our worldview.”
“Anyone who still hasn’t recognized the seriousness of the situation among radical Muslims is blind in both eyes!” writes Werner Mordziol. He adds: “Unfortunately, this also prejudges all decent, law-abiding Muslims!”
Clear demands on politicians
For many readers, the demonstrations are also a call to action for politicians. “Actions are expected from the traffic lights, actions and not announcements,” says Herbert Behrendt.
Clemens Bonheino finds clear words and calls for clarification from politicians: “It is time to finally deport these people who cannot get along with our society at all and are working against it in a consistent manner.”
Reader Ünal Kaplan also sees it this way. He demands that the participants must be identified: “The state must act consistently here and the actors must also feel these consequences. Extremism in any form, whether right-wing, left-wing or religious, has no place in our society.”
Users like Ralf Kellerbauer also recognize an international connection in the discussion: “Europe needs a concept for the Gaza Strip after the destruction of Hamas. Only if things get better for the Palestinians soon will we have a chance of reducing the hatred here,” he writes.
The other side of the debate
But not only agreement can be found in the comments. Dieter Schmeer, for example, raises concerns that the demonstrations were not attended by a homogeneous group: “Many people ignore the fact that it is mainly the suffering of the people in Gaza that leads to massive demonstrations against Israel around the world. Concern for the lives of innocent civilians is mixed with hatred of Jews and the crude ideas of extremists.”
Christian Fröhlich also warns that a debate about integration should not turn into another form of hatred. “I don’t know how many times I’ve read the word ‘anti-Semitism’ here. Conversely, I haven’t even read the word ‘Islam hatred’ when it comes to the idea that bombing terror against Muslim civilians is somehow justified. I don’t think such a debate is productive, just as I don’t think anti-Semitism is productive,” he writes.
Reader Etienne Gold sees it the same way and would like to see less black and white thinking: “The question recently has been: Do Palestinians have rights or are you an anti-Semite..?”