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Merkel Calls for International Cooperation to Fight ISIS | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lutz Bachmann, founder of Pegida

Berlin-The German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for boosting international cooperation between security authorities and intelligence services to combat ISIS.

“We all agree in Europe that cooperating is essential to end this terrorist organization,” she said on Tuesday in Berlin.

She added that Europe is facing many threats, confirming that the only way to end ISIS’s terrorist acts is through cooperation.

On the other hand, a leader of German Muslims on Monday compared the attitude of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party toward his community to that of Hitler’s Nazis toward Jews.

The AfD entered three state parliaments last month by luring voters angry with Merkel’s decision to welcome mainly Muslim refugees fleeing war in Syria, and says Islam is incompatible with Germany’s constitution.

“It is the first time since Hitler’s Germany that a whole religious community is discredited and existentially threatened,” Aiman Mazyek, head of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims, told Germany’s NDR public television.

He was responding to AfD plans, announced this weekend, to press for bans on minarets and burqas at its congress in two weeks’ time.

“The AfD is riding a wave of Islamophobia,” Mazyek said. “This is not an anti-Islam path, it is an anti-democratic path.”

In addition, AfD leaders say the influx of more than one million migrants last year, mainly Muslims fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, makes the “Islamization of Germany” a real threat.

The rise of the AfD has alarmed mainstream parties, who rely on compromise to form coalitions.
In a common matter, AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that “Islam is in itself a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitution.”

Nevertheless, Merkel has rejected the AfD’s claims that Islam is out of step with the constitution and represents a danger to the nation.

“In Germany we have the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship, and that is true for Muslims in our country,” she said this week.

The AfD’s description of Islam as a “foreign body in Germany” comes amid fractious debate over the influx of largely Muslim asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

In addition to that, the former CDU General Secretary Heiner Geissler said in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung of racism: “What the AfD doing here, is religious racism. The young AfD comes from right-wing circles and seminars.”

“The constitutional protection should monitor the development of AFD exactly,” he added.

Interior minister Thomas de Maizière said officials had dealt a “powerful blow to a regional rightwing terrorist group”. He said that arresting them reduced the possibility of witnessing any other attacks soon.

The raids show that “the state is moving resolutely and in a timely fashion against right-wing terrorist structures and criminals,” he added.

It is worth mentioning that German police arrested five suspects on terrorism charges in raids on a right-wing group charged with attacking asylum shelters in the east of the country in the midst of Europe’s refugee crisis.

Special federal police forces helped raid apartments centered in the town of Freital near Dresden early on Tuesday, swooping on an organization identified as the Freital Group that targeted at least two shelters with explosives between September and November of last year.