Germany says no plans for Austrian-style ‘Islam map’

Germany Friday said there are no plans for an Austrian-style “Islam map” following calls by a prominent German politician of Chancellor Angel Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party who voiced support for the controversial initiative.

Talking at a routine weekly government press conference in Berlin, German Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter said: “We know the media reports about the plans that exist in Austria. We consider this an Austrian matter. There are currently no comparable plans in Germany.”

“We are in constant and good contact with Muslims in Germany and their representatives and we have very good conversational relationships,” Alter added.

A leading member of the parliamentary faction of the co-ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said on Thursday Germany should also have a “political Islam map”.

Talking to the right-wing weekly Junge Freiheit newspaper, Hans-Juergen Irmer said: “The fight against political Islam is an important task. Such a card should also be available in Germany.”

Irmer was referring to the contentious initiative of Austrian Integration Minister Susanne Raab who last week launched the “National Map of Islam” with the names and locations of more than 620 mosques, associations and officials and their possible links abroad.

Many Muslims feel stigmatized and their security threatened by the publication of addresses and other details amid growing Islamophobia in Austria, especially in the wake of a deadly Islamist terror attack in Vienna last November.

Irmer reiterated his support for this anti-Muslim campaign of the Austrian government.

“Austria draws the right conclusions,” emphasized Irmer. It is right and important to “gain knowledge, for example, who is sitting where and what functions he has.”

Such a card would complement the package of measures against “political Islamism” decided a few weeks ago by our (Christian Democratic) parliamentary group, Irmer said.

On Wednesday, Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the German Central Council of Muslims, lashed out at Austria’s right-wing government for launching the “Islam map”, branding it “irresponsible.”

“With battle cries like ‘Political Islam’ and such actions, anti-Muslim racists and religious extremists will be strengthened at the same time, while millions of Muslims are put under general suspicion,” Mazyek told the WAZ newspaper.

“The loser of such irresponsible actions is democracy and the values of our free society in Europe,” he added.

Austria’s government has sought to defend the disputed “Islam map” which has been strongly condemned by the country’s Muslim community and is also drawing mounting international criticism.

Meanwhile, the Vienna-based daily DER STANDARD reported on Thursday that the “Islamic map” has temporarily gone offline. No reason was given as to why this happened.

AA

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