On Monday, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, the German Muslim League (Deutsche Muslim Liga) and the Islamische Zeitung newspaper revealed the results of a survey sent to German political parties soon to be represented in the next parliament, except the AfD.
The AfD did not respond to the Muslim survey. The Alternative for Germany party, an anti-Islam and anti-immigration party – the only one in Germany – clashed with the Central Council of Muslims last year after the Muslims representatives called them “Nazis” and said their party as well as their policies were “unconstitutional”.
Within an hour, the AfD walked out of the discussion which had been closed to the public, demanding that the insults and demands be taken back, but the Council has ignored them.
“The only party, that did not respond despite several attempts to follow up with them via email and telephone, was the AfD,” the survey’s publishers said.
All the other parties tried to charm Muslim voters in their remarks, calling for “religious freedom” and “ending racism”. Martin Schulz, SPD candidate, said only Muslims contributed towards “peaceful dialogue” in his country.
Questions on controversial public issues surrounding the circumcision of boys, the ritual slaughter of animals and what the Islamic surveyors called “the growing discrimination against Muslims in parts of society, the economy, politics, media and social networks” or Islamophobia.
All the German political parties spoke out against “discrimination against Muslims” and most supported no change to the status quo of ritual animal slaughter.
Some 1.5 million voters in Germany are Muslim of the 61.5 million eligible voters soon to cast their ballots in nationwide elections due to be held on 24 September.
The survey’s publishers Aiman Mazyek, Belal El-Mogaddedi and Sulaiman Wilms noted that Muslim voters were interested in issues around state funding, including pensions and education.
“However, at a time of growing hostility toward Islam, German Muslims are also considering how parties deal with issues related to Islam and the concerns and suggestions of Muslim citizens when they decide who to vote for,” they added.
The researchers sent out 30 questions, asking for parties’ positions on a wide range of national and international topics. The Left party, Greens, Free Democrats, Christian Democrats, the Christian Social Union and Social Democrats all answered.
Other questions included where the parties stood in relation to weapons exports and dual citizenship. The full survey can be found here.
Echoing the Central Council of Muslims, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas also warned that the AfD’s religious, family, criminal and European policies violate the German constitution. He singled out a blanket ban on minarets which the AfD has promised.
Maas told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the German constitution permits “freedom of religion” and prohibits “discrimination on the grounds of faith or religious beliefs”.
With just two weeks until the election, polls indicate that the AfD could become the third largest party after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats.
Merkel, meanwhile was hit by tomatoes on Tuesday during a campaign stop in the southern German university city of Heidelberg.
Police report that tomatoes were thrown at the chancellor. Merkel as well as Claudia von Brauchitsch, from the CDU got hit. During the speech, several voters also interrupted her with whistles and shouts of “traitor to the people,” “hypocrite” and “liar”.
At another venue, during her election campaign in Vorpommern, Merkel’s car was thrown with tomatoes at the entrance to the event in Wolgast on Friday evening, the police reported. The demonstrators, many AfD supporters, had gathered in front of the hall, where the CDU Federal President spoke.
Wolgast is in the federal election district 16, in which the AfD had won three direct mandates at the state elections one year ago and is now hoping for a high performance again.
On Wednesday Merkel’s entire speech in the Saxon town of Torgau was massively disturbed by buzzing, whistling and honking. “There were some people outside who are booing and screaming,” Merkel admitted, according to Ostseezeitung.
The chancellor instead played on voter fears. She said: “It is not a god-given thing that we’ll still be building the best cars in the world in ten years.”
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