Preussische Allgemeine Zeitung, March 2, 2017:
Back in October 2014, when the first PEGIDA demonstrators took to the streets to warn of the looming Islamisation of their homeland, there were practically no Muslims to be found in the German state of Saxony. Their share of the population lay under one percent, a fact that the media would constantly harp on in order to hold the Islamoskeptic PEGIDA protest group up to ridicule. Yet things have changed significantly since then in the wake of the mass influx of “asylum seekers”, whereby no one can say precisely how high the number of Muslims in the Free State of Saxony has already become, thanks to the authorities’ persistent failure to properly register the masses of so-called “refugees”.
In any case, there is now a growing Muslim presence in Saxony, not just in the state’s three main urban centres of Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz, but also in smaller communities and rural areas. The driving force behind this trend appears to be none other than the Muslim Brotherhood. For in contrast to the states of the old West Germany, other Muslim lobbying associations, such as the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), have no real organizational basis in Saxony to fall back on. This has enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to make inroads in what is practically a vacuum. A development that entails significant risks, of course, given that the Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamic organization whose declared mission since 1928 has been to establish dictatorial, sharia-based regimes in as many countries as possible over all the world. The Brotherhood has also not shrunk from using violence in pursuing this goal, which is why they are currently officially treated as a terrorist organisation in Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in Saxony were brought to light by none other than the President of the state’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz), Gordian Meyer-Plath. At a press conference in early February, he revealed that members of the Brotherhood were in the process of acquiring a growing portfolio of local real estate, which they intended to later use as sites for mosques and community centres. This investment spree, he explained, was well-funded: “They criss-cross the state with wads of cash and snap up properties”. And not just in Dresden and Leipzig, for example, but also in smaller towns like Riesa, Meissen, Pirna, Bautzen and Görlitz. The constitutional watchdog agency had also discovered that the Brotherhood has been working through a front organization known as the Saxon (SBS) to avoid drawing attention, this being a publicly registered charity purporting to be “open to all people, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality, religion or language” and supposedly representing a “non-politicised form of Islam”.
The statements made by Saxony’s top constitutional monitor were contradicted by the SBS’ managing director Saad Elgazar, a native of Egypt. While Mr Elgazar agreed that a cheaply priced building had been purchased in Pirna, he pointed out that the remaining nine locations consisted of extremely modest leased premises in back courtyards, ones whose size and accoutrements were “appropriate” to the small size of the local Muslim community. The notion that SBS had any ties to the Muslim Brotherhood was flatly denied by Mr Elgazar, who averred that the association respected the Federal Republic of Germany’s constitutional order and had no contacts whatsoever with Islamic fundamentalists. Mr Elgazar is a physicist and former Chairman of Dresden’s Islamic Centre who currently also runs the Marwa Elsherbiny Cultural and Educational Centre along with its appurtenant mosque.
These claims hardly correspond to the facts, however, as evidenced by the charity’s collaboration with the so-called “Islamic Community in Germany” (IGD), an association that attracted attention back in November 2016 in connection with a promotional leaflet. Indeed, the respective constitutional watchdog agencies for several of Germany’s western and southern states have concluded that the IGD is essentially the Muslim Brotherhood’s “HQ organization for Germany” and have thus placed it under surveillance. Moreover, the government of the United Arab Emirates has included the IGD on its list of the world’s most dangerous radical Islamic organisations since late 2014.
In Saxony, by contrast, the constitutional watchdogs seem far less aware of the problem. In fact, neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the IGD is even mentioned in the latest Situation Report issued by the state’s Office for Protection of the Constitution. Nor does the agency’s president believe that the Brotherhood activities – which he himself elucidated – pose any particular danger, given that, as he puts it, they are neither terrorists or Salafists.
This state of affairs was commented on by Kirsten Muster, who chairs the state caucus of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party in Dresden and also serves as its spokesperson for legal affairs: “I am rarely at a loss for words but this time I’m literally struck dumb. An organisation than openly supports Sharia law and supports terrorism through Hamas is trying to gain political influence in Saxony … yet Mr Meyer-Plath plays the appeaser and would have us believe the Muslim Brotherhood is somehow not that bad. One could almost say he’s relieved that the Brotherhood “only” wants to introduce Sharia law in Germany! Whoever strives to establish Sharia in our country is acting in flagrant opposition to our democratic, constitutional order. The AfD is calling for an immediate ban on this organisation, to prevent further properties from falling into the hands of facilitators of terrorism.” Very much as usual, of course, no one has lifted a finger.