ADDS Faeser speaking at the conference, raids in Bavaria over anti-Semitism
Germany’s interior minister on Tuesday urged Muslim groups in the country to explicitly condemn the deadly October 7 attacks by Hamas 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. “Some have not.”
The voices “defending our values” must get louder, said the minister.
There has not yet been a public reaction from Muslim groups.
At the same time, Faeser said at a conference of German politicians, Muslim groups and representatives of the Christian and Jewish communities that anti-Semitism allegations must not be instrumentalised for anti-Muslim sentiment.
“We must not offer any space to those who declare Muslims to be the cause of all evils.
“Those who are now creating a mood against Muslims under the pretext of fighting anti-Semitism want to divide and not unite us.”
Battling anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism are the main themes of the two-day meeting, which is held against the backdrop of tensions over the Israel-Gaza war.
Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, during cross-border raids into Israel on October 7, according to Israeli officials.
In retaliation, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza in which more than 13,300 Palestinians have died, including at least 5,600 children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Large pro-Palestinians marches have been held in major cities across Germany in recent weeks, with some leading to dozens of arrests over anti-Semitic acts.
German investigators on Tuesday raided several properties in the southern state of Bavaria, where 17 people aged 18 to 62 are suspected of spreading anti-Semitic messages, mainly via the Internet and social media.
Several objects were seized during the raids, including laptops and telephones.
A sharp jump in the number of anti-Semitic cases has been recorded across Germany since October 7.
On the anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom that began the Holocaust, Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to protect Germany’s Jews against a “shameful” upsurge in anti-Semitism in the wake of the Israel-Gaza war.
Germany is home to some 45 million Christians — including Protestants and Catholics, while around 200,000 Jews live in the country.