BERLIN (AP) — Clashes erupted in Germany when police tried to separate competing rallies by an ultraconservative Muslim group and a small far-right march, injuring 29 officers, authorities said Sunday. More than 100 Salafist protesters were briefly arrested.
The trouble in the western city of Bonn started late Saturday when hundreds of Muslims protested against the rally of about 30 supporters of the local far-right party Pro NRW, which has angered Muslims by showing unfavorable cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Strict Muslims oppose any depiction of their prophet.
About 110 Salafist protesters were arrested after they started attacking security forces with stones and bottles, police said. Two of the injured police officers were hospitalized with serious wounds after being stabbed.
A 25-year-old German protester of Turkish origin, who is suspected of having stabbed the two police officers, remained in custody and was investigated on suspicion of attempted homicide, police said. "This was an explosion of violence as we haven't witnessed in a long time," Bonn police chief Ursula Brohl-Sowa said at a news conference Sunday.
About 200 Salafists threw objects toward police after the far-right protesters showed the cartoon depicting Mohammed,
Germany's intelligence and security agencies are closely monitoring the Salafists' actions as the group is increasingly viewed as a threat to security, according to officials.
"Salafism is currently the most dynamic Islamist movement as well in Germany as internationally. Its fanatic followers represent a particular danger for Germany's security," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag. "The Salafists provide the ideological foundation for those who then turn violent,"
From the German edition of The Local
The “Pro NRW” party has said it intends to send activists to 25 mosques throughout the state in the run-up to the state election in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 13, staging protests in Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Wuppertal and Solingen.
Last week, a state court lifted a prior ban on the group using Mohammed caricatures in its election campaign, despite criticism that the images were purely being used for provocation.
The incident follows a similar protest on Tuesday, when 81 people were arrested in Solingen after violence broke out during a protest of Salafist Muslims against “Pro NRW.” The group had set up a stand showing cartoons of Mohammed outside a mosque.
And from Russia Today
One of the most radical Muslim confessions is on an aggressive campaign of preaching ultra-conservative Islam in Germany. Protected by the freedom of religion act, they spread a message that raises concerns within German society. The Salafist community in Germany organized a campaign with long-term goal to put no fewer than 25 million copies of the Koran into German homes. Over 300,000 copies have already been handed out from over 100 special booths across most parts of Germany.
It is not the matter of how the Koran is being distributed, but rather who is behind the distribution. The group behind the Koran distribution in Germany is the radical Salafist Muslim "True Religion" network led by Palestinian preacher Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, one of Germany’s most-influential Salafist leaders, who has already been charged in Cologne with inciting the public to commit illegal acts.
German Federal Office of Constitution protection has come to a conclusion that Salafist traditions do not comply with the German constitution as the Salafists deny democracy basic principles, human rights and gender equality. There are passages in the Koran about violence, especially against women, who are not protected by Sharia law as men are. Also, violence against the unfaithful is acceptable