Germany’s Muslim community has called on the government to create a new government post to counter growing Islamophobia in the country.
Aiman Mazyek, president of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, proposed on Wednesday appointment of an Islamophobia commissioner.
“We have seen the importance of such a post after the federal government appointed a commissioner to combat anti-Semitism,” he told Bild daily.
Mazyek underlined that the appointment of an Islamophobia commissioner would be an important signal, and authorities would become more sensitive about anti-Muslim crimes.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government created an office last year for a federal commissioner to fight against anti-Semitism, following calls by Jewish organizations.
Despite suggestions for creating a similar post to address concerns of Muslim community, the government had so far been reluctant.
Mazyek said growing anti-Muslim propaganda in the country has reached worrying levels in recent months, as more than 20 mosques received bomb threats in July.
“One who is against Muslims or other minorities is in fact threatening us all in a free, democratic country. It is crucial that the society recognizes this,” he stressed.
Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants in recent years triggered by the far-right parties and movements, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.
Police recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year, including insults, threatening letters, physical assaults and attacks against mosques.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. The country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims include the country's Turkish minority of 3 million./aa