Strasbourg (EMU) – The criminal actions on New Year’s Eve in front of the Cologne Central Station – as well as in other large German cities – have fueled the debate on the issue of refugees, migration and the image of women in the eyes of Muslim men.
According to initial reports and testimonies the alleged assaults by the bands were alleged to have taken place on bystanders, especially women, who were robbed, harassed, and forced into sexual contact. In their initial statements the police spoke of around 100 alleged Muslim young men who will be held responsible for the actions of New Year’s Eve.
Immediately after the attacks were made known a fierce debate about the cause and consequences of this gang crime broke out in the media, on the internet and in politics. Islam critics, conservative politicians and publicists attributed responsibility to the “image of women in Islam” and a so-called “Muslim concept of honour” even though the perpetrators were said to be drunk.
As feared, the subsequent demands were not only for a systematic policing and prosecution of such disturbances; rather, it was the Muslim associations and Islam which were deemed overall responsible. Obviously some politicians are using the problem associated with gang violence to exacerbate both the debate on the refugee issue in Germany as well as the public debate about Islam – in order to simultaneously increase their media profile.
As a service provider for the European Muslims, the European Muslim Union (EMU) declares categorically that law-abiding behavior and the protection of the public space are among the pillars of Muslim life. As such, it welcomes the systematic detection and prosecution of these and similar acts.
At the same time it likewise makes crystal clear that the perfidious connection between the Islamic religion, to which more than one billion people around the world and different cultures belong, is illegitimate and ineffective. The drunken hordes of Cologne and elsewhere cannot be considered under any circumstances as representatives of Islam.
With this in mind, Muslims in Germany and all over Europe are invited to ensure the safety of the public space of civil society, to cultivate respectful treatment of women and weaker persons, and to ensure that their children and youth do not drift into such activities.