For their “Islamism Map Kassel”, a research group has gathered a lot of information about political Islam. Is the German Kassel region infiltrated by Islamists?
On the “Islamism Map Kassel”, the city of Kassel looks like a centre of Islamism in Germany. It displays information about allegedly Salafist mosques, the far-right Grey Wolves and actors close to Muslim Brotherhoods.
When asked, the initiators do not want to reveal who is behind the research group. The Hessian Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies them in the “left-wing extremist-antifascist movement”. For their map, the group has gathered detailed information on organisations and associations of political Islam. According to the group, it used information from groups such as the Alliance against Anti-Semitism.
For example, it says about the Mevlana mosque in Oberzwehren, which belongs to the controversial Turkish-Islamic organisation Ditib: “The sermons are centrally dictated from Turkey”. An article is also quoted about an imam who called for martyrdom for the Turkish nation at a rally on Königsplatz square in 2016. The Sultan Alparslan Mosque in Nordstadt district of Kassel is also listed, which belongs to the umbrella organisation of the far-right Grey Wolves.
For Lino Klevesath, the group’s findings are obviously “based on solid research”, as the expert from Göttingen University says. However, he considers the classifications to be questionable: “The term Islamism conceals more here than it explains. Here, almost everything that is somehow political is assessed as problematic by Muslim actors. But isn’t every religion political?” To some extent, the map is scaremongering, Klevesath says.
However, the employee of the Institute for Democracy Research also takes a critical view of Ditib, Germany’s largest mosque association. Ditib imams are Turkish state officials: “This is problematic, because Turkey is acting in an increasingly authoritarian manner.” And not only the Grey Wolves, but also the split-off umbrella organisation Avrupa Türk-Islam Birligi (ATIB) express themselves inhumanely, the expert emphasises. “In any case, nationalist-chauvinist content is widespread in parts of the ethnic Turkish milieu. The articulation of such statements lowers the inhibition threshold for violence,” says Klevesath.