The federal government is determined to pass its “Democracy Promotion Act” with the Christian Democratic – Social Democratic – Coalition shortly before the end of the legislative period. At its focus are additional hundreds of millions of euros for associations and activists who are to take action against extremism.
So far, the Christian Democrats have refused because the planned law does not include their demand that state-funded activists and social workers sign a written commitment to the Basic Law and exclude cooperation with extremist groups.
Among the hundreds of organisations that are already funded by the “Live Democracy” programme and are to be better and more long-term financed with the help of the new law are many meaningful projects of renowned social sector organisations. For example, they look after dropouts from the radical right or Islamist.
However, problematic organisations also benefit from the funding. For example, the Berlin association Eoto, which sees itself as a “black empowerment association”. The Green Party local politician Jeff Kwasi Klein, who last May praised physical violence as a suitable form of protest, is one of the people who work there full-time.
The association Eoto, for which Klein is employed, is funded by the programme “Democracy Live” with more than 400,000 euros annually for the purpose of racism prevention; the social workers support black youth with so-called empowerment and train them in dealing with experiences of discrimination.
Also active in Berlin is the Islamic association Inssan, which has been granted at least 280,000 euros from the “Demokratie leben” fund in recent years. According to information from the newspaper WELT, the association’s managing director, Mohammad Hajjaj, was and is active in several associations that are considered Islamist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Recently, the Berlin Senate also appointed Hajjaj to the expert commission for “anti-Muslim racism”.
According to Sigrid Herrmann-Marschall, an expert on Islamism, the importance of the Inssan association “cannot be underestimated”. The chairperson, Lydia Nofal, acts “as a mediator between the majority society and the network of activities of the Muslim Brotherhood”. Nofal and Hajjaj are both members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) working group of Muslim Social Democrats and enjoy the backing of the Red-Red-Green Senate.
Various actors from the Antifa scene, in which peaceful and violent leftists come together, also benefit from the ” Demokratie leben” budget – at least 47 of the more than 100 Antifa groups nationwide are classified as “left-wing extremist” by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. For example, a recently published Antifa brochure on right-wing extremists in southern Lower Saxony was funded with 5,000 euros, according to the newspaper “taz”.
In the Berlin “Demokratie leben” project called Kiezstory, which is funded with 173,000 euros this year for the purpose of “shaping diversity”, Claudio C., who has roots in the antifa scene, is employed. He was in the headlines in February after nine pipe bombs were found in his flatmate’s room.