Press Shia Agency – Muslims are questioning their freedom in Germany after a mosque under construction was vandalized late Wednesday by assailants writing racist-Islamophobic slogans on its walls. This is the third attack targeting mosques since late September.
Press Shia – Three attacks targeting Turkish-run mosques in Germany since Sept. 25 triggered concerns on rising Islamophobia in the country where xenophobic and Islamophobic movements have gained popularity since a recent influx of refugees.
The latest target of unknown assailants was a mosque under construction in Herringen, a small town in the North Rhein Westphalia state. Suspects spray painted anti-Islamic slogans on the walls of the unfinished mosque being built by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), which also runs mosques in Dresden and Bebra. A swastika was also painted on the walls next to slogans reading, "Get Out of Germany" and "Center of Terror".
The DİTİB released a statement on the latest attack and said the rise in mosque attacks recently prompted concerns amid the Muslim community.
Mosques in Germany, where anti-Muslim sentiment paralleling the growing influx of Muslim refugees is centered, are occasionally subject to attacks, ranging from Molotov cocktails to tossing of pig's heads. A Turkish-parliamentary committee investigating the targeting of mosques found 297 attacks against mosques between 2001 and 2014, the majority of targets being Turkish mosques.
Several European countries have witnessed a spike in Islamophobia and anti-migrant sentiment, especially after receiving an unprecedented influx of refugees, who are mostly Syrians fleeing war and violence. Europe's populist-right also rushed to demand an end to the influx of refugees from the Middle East in the wake of the attacks.
Mosque attacks in Germany have recently drawn the ire of Turkey. Mustafa Yeneroğlu, head of the Turkish parliament's Human Rights Committee, has called Berlin to protect the Muslim community from racist attacks. Yeneroğlu said in a written statement that although mosques were attacked occasionally, most attacks were not covered by the media. He cited a response to a question on the attacks by Germany's federal government and said 14 mosques were subject to "politically motivated attacks" between April and June this year, adding nine of them were the work of suspect or suspects with far-right motives while the other two attacks were carried out by supporters of the PKK terrorist group active in Turkey. The lawmaker said the threat against mosques in Germany is on the rise and emphasized that the lack of proper measures against potential attacks and failure to find perpetrators "led us to consider that this issue is not properly investigated." He said federal prosecutors have not launched an inquiry into the attacks, "dealing a blow to expectations that the cases will be brought to light" and "unfortunately, paves the way for new attacks."