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Merkel blasts DITIB, AKP affiliated largest org for Muslims for refusing to participate march against terrorism

Merkel said that “it is a pity” for the DITIB not to participate in the demonstration

Before Muslims prepare to protest march against radical Islamist terrorism in Cologne. Germany on Saturday, there is severe criticism of Religious Affairs Turkish Islamic Union (DITIB), which decides not to participate. DITIB is known to be closely aligned with the Erdogan’s government.

Many of DITIB’s imams in Germany were expelled and under investigation for allegedly spying for the Erdogan government.

Prime Minister Angela Merkel reacted to the decision of the Religious Affairs Turkish Islamic Union (DITIB) not to participate in the peace march to be held in Cologne with the title “Not with us.”

Merkel expressed disappointment through the spokesman by stating that it was “a pity” for DITIB, the largest roof organization of Muslim communities in Germany, not to participate in the demonstration. Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said that he will be pleased with the involvement of all Muslim associations in the demonstration, adding that the planned peace march would be “an important sign that Muslims have no connection with terrorism and terrorists who use their religions for bad purposes.”

Approximately 10.000 people are expected to participate

Muslims from all over Germany are expected to attend the peace march. According to the information given by the organizers to the police, it is assumed that there will be almost 10.000 participants. Many politicians, artists and scientists have also signed the call, while many organizations, including political parties, trade unions, social aid organizations and church groups, have supported the march.

As one of the reasons for not participating in the demonstration, the officials of DITIB said that it is unreasonable to ask the fasting people to appear for hours under the sun in Ramadan. In the statement made by the DITIB, it was also reported that directing this demand particularly to the Muslims stamped them, and gave them a false message reducing the international terror to Muslims, their communities and their mosques.

“DITIB harms itself and its members most”

Federal Minister of State for Immigration, Refugees and Integration Aydan Özoğuz also criticized the decision of DITİB. Minister Özoğuz told Funke Media Group that “DITIB has faced the danger of losing its credibility further by staying alone.”

Ozoguz stated that DITIB’s criticisms mostly harmed itself and its members and he regretted its decision not to participate in the rally. Thomas Sternberg, the chairman of the German Catholic Central Committee, described the DITIB’s decision upon not attending the demonstration as a “disastrous sign” and said “We are watching with great anxiety that DITIB pushes itself towards loneliness with this attitude.” Sternberg noted that giving a collective clear sign to “the abuse and distortion of Islam” should be important to all Muslims.

“Beyond the lame excuse”

The Green Party / Union 90 Party Co-Chair Cem Özdemir spoke to Berliner Zeitung, and described the reason for the decision not to join the peace march of the DITIB as “beyond the lame excuse.” Katarina Barley from the Social Democratic Party, who took office as the Federal Family Ministry in early June, expressed that they would like to enter into a closer dialogue with non-religious migrant organizations in the future.

Lamia Kaddor, an Islamic scientist who came up with the idea of the peace march in Cologne and has been trying to carry it out, explained to the news portal “Bento” of Der Spiegel magazine for young readers that DITIB board missed a great opportunity and that “eventually served the enemies of Islam” and said “We therefore call upon each follower of DITIB to undertake responsibility.”

Compiled and translated by Veysel Karacabeyli

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