In Germany, criminal extended families have established a parallel society that follows its very own rules. Spiegel TV authors Thomas Heise and Claas Meyer-Heuer spoke with two clan members. The result is a documentary about the internal life of extended families – and about the failure of politics.
Ali F. and Sherif B. come from two different extended families; they have almost lost track of the numbers of members of their clans. Nevertheless Sherif knows to report: “You can already count on 70 to 80 percent that all of them are criminal. Ali F. confirms this: “It’s the same with me. 80 percent may not be, but 60 to 70 percent are criminals.
Especially the male clan members are often delinquent. Sherif served nine years in prison for drug dealing and assault. Extended families like the Al-Zeins, the Remmos or the Miris are known to the police. Ali F. and Sherif B. also talk bluntly in the interview about criminal machinations, blood and bride money, marriages within their families and drug dealing. One statement in particular remains in the memory.
When Sherif B thinks about the fact that his wife is cheating on him, he speaks out in a rage. “If my dignity is violated by my wife cheating on me, I will feel the same as everyone else,” he says. “I would torture, strangle, kill, stab, shoot her very slowly, no matter what. I would do it immediately. Her and the one she cheated with, both of them. There’s no mercy there either, nothing. And I think everybody in this family would agree with me.” Obviously furious, he adds, ” I’ d stab her right in the neck and that’s it! If she cheats, she has had bad luck. We are not interested in the Basic Law. We only go by Islamic law.”It is precisely this attitude that makes clans so dangerous, says the law and Islamic Studies Professor Mathias Rohe of the University of Erlangen. “The problem with parallel societies in the narrower sense is hermetic closure. One has its own code of values, its own code of norms, which then, if necessary, is also directed against what is generally valid in this country, namely the legal system.