Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz has called for an immediate ban on Islamic fundamentalists who distribute copies of the Koran, saying that the law needs to be changed to crack down on “Salafist campaigns – an expression of political Islam which we can no longer tolerate”.
Earlier this week the German authorities launched massive coordinated raids by anti-terror cops on over 200 apartments belonging to members of a German Salafist group calling itself ‘The True Religion’. After years trying to find a solution to disband the project amidst legal and practical difficulties, the German government finally announced that the group was banned for good.
A recent campaign by the group involved dozens of stalls handing out German copies of a strict traditionalist version of the Koran under a banner with the word ‘Lies!’.
Pictures of the campaign went viral because of the word ‘Lies’, which means ‘Read This’ in German – but something else in English. The radical Muslims were however apparently unaware that the word ‘lies’, which comes from the verb ‘lesen’ meaning to read, has an entirely different meaning in English.
It is believed the organization has already reinvented itself by launching a new club called ‘We Love Muhammad’, referring to the prophet who is the central figure of Islam. The group is also active in Austria and sets up stands in pedestrian areas with a white tablecloth with books on top. Behind each table mostly young men are seen, usually in traditional Islamic garments and sporting long beards, under the ‘Lies’ banner. Another controversial campaign to distribute copies of the Koran in Vienna came under fire after it was revealed a jailed terrorist was one of the original organizers. Mirsad Omerovic, 35, was involved in the recruitment of teenage schoolgirls Samra Kesinovic, 17, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, who was 15 when they left to join Isis in Syria in April 2014.
According to Austrian media he was one of the original organizers of the Koran distribution project in Vienna, and although it stopped while he was on trial, it is now being carried out again without permission from council officials who say there is little they can do to stop it. There are also groups in Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck involved in distributing the Koran. Austria has already banned foreign funding for Muslim groups, mosques and imams in Austria. Cities in Switzerland are now also considering a ban on the radical Salafist groups distributing the Koran.
German intelligence services say that the Koran distribution campaign is one of the reasons behind the growth of the Islamist scene in the country. They say that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone has around 2,700 Salafists, of whom 620 are considered violent. Intelligence chiefs suspect wealthy donors from the Middle East are behind the distribution campaign. According to local media in Germany some of the people behind the campaign have ended up fighting for Isis in Syria. One of Germany’s most famous Islamic converts, Sven Lau, is also connected to the campaign. The Catholic turned Islamic hate preacher is currently on trial for aiding terrorists. 35-year-old Lau is perhaps best known as the initiator of the “Sharia police” in the city of Wuppertal in the industrial Ruhr region, which sought to enforce a strict interpretation of Islam.
Source: The Muslim Issue