Germany Islam 101 Islam in Germany Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld: Taboo-Breaking German Intelligence Report On Muslim Antisemitism…….


Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article was originally published at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) and republished here with the author’s consent.



Manfred Gerstenfeld

The German agency for Domestic Security (Bundesamt fuer Verfassungsschutz) has published a 40-page report which title translates as “Antisemitism in Islamism.” Never before has a European intelligence agency published a report on Muslim antisemitism. This report is a major break with the German past because it is the first official publication of a national body that exposes in reasonable detail the antisemitism originating in parts of the country’s Muslim community.


The title however doesn’t reflect the content. It was likely considered unacceptable — from a political correctness point of view — to name the report, in line with much of its content, “Antisemitism and Islam.” In many but not all of the quotes below, the word “Islamist” should be replaced by “Muslim”.


The report defines Islamism as a form of political extremism among Muslims. It aims at the elimination of democracy and antisemitism is an essential ideological element of it.


Many Muslims are not antisemites. Yet the antisemitism problem in Islam is far from limited to people with extreme political views or even to religious Muslims. The report indicates that many incidents have been caused by individuals “about whom until then no indications were available to organized Islamism.” This suggests that these antisemitic acts were committed because of Islamism, which probably is not the case in a substantial number of incidents.


Just a year and a half ago, speaking of Muslim antisemitism was taboo in Germany, never to be mentioned by politicians. This despite the fact that it was generally known that there had been major antisemitic incidents perpetrated by Muslims in the country.


The document starts off with stating that due to historical reasons and experiences with nationalist socialism, for a long time every antisemitic attitude was related to right-wing antisemitism. Only gradually in the current century has it become clear that antisemitism isn’t just a right-wing monopoly. Beyond that, the report states there is common “daily” antisemitism which is widespread in the social and political center of German society. In addition, anti-Zionism and antisemitism exist among leftist extremists.1


The authors continue that even more far reaching are the antisemitic opinions in Islamism. Religious, territorial and political motives combine into an antisemitic worldview. The debates of all Islamist groups have as a central pillar a picture of Judaism as the enemy.


The report states that the arrival of more than a million Muslims in Germany between 2014 and 2017 has increased the importance of Islamist antisemitism in the country. It quotes the Anti-Defamation League statistics of antisemitism among the populations of states in the Middle East and North Africa. In these regions Turkey is one of the least antisemitic countries from where many Muslims living in Germany originate. Even that has “nearly 70% of antisemites.”2 The study mentions that many children in these countries grow up with antisemitism as a self-understood phenomenon.3


Like many experts, the report sees a turning point in the German awareness of Islamist antisemitism in a demonstration which took place in Berlin in 2017. There placards were carried demanding the destruction of Israel. An Israeli flag was set on fire. The report notes that the extremist acts were initiated by people who were unknown to have any prior relationship with Islamist organizations.4 This fact has probably never been published before.


These facts shocked Germany because of the association with the far more severe book burnings of 1933 encouraged by the German national socialist government at the time. The video of these flag burnings went viral. That suddenly led a number of rather short reactions by leading politicians. German President and social democrat, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that the responsibility of Germany for its history knows “no limits for those who were born later and no exceptions for immigrants.” He added, “This is not negotiable for all those who live in Germany and want to live here.”5 Jens Spahn, a board member of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union (CDU), who has since become Germany’s Minister of Health, remarked that the immigration from Muslim countries is the reason for the recent demonstrations in Germany. 6 Stephan Harbarth, Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU faction in the Bundestag – the German parliament — said, “We have to strongly confront the antisemitism of migrants with an Arab background and those from African countries.”7


The study states that it is crucial to counteract the spreading of extreme antisemitism among the Muslim population in Germany. That requires a greater awareness of this problem in the public domain. This in particular among teachers, social workers, the police and employees of the government office for migration and refugees as well as the relevant officials in Germany’s Federal states.


The authors also mention that the way Islamists interpret Islam is contrary to the basic elements of the German constitution concerning the sovereignty of citizens, the separation of state and religion, freedom of expression, and the general equality of all citizens.8 For that reason, German intelligence services monitor the activities of Islamist organizations.


The report lists major antisemitic expressions of Islamist antisemitism such as: “Jews control finance and the economy,”9 “Jews operate with the help of secret agents and organizations,” and “there is an eternal battle between Muslims and Jews.” 10 The report also enumerates the various extreme Muslim organizations which are active in Germany. These include the local Muslim Brotherhood,11 Hamas,12 Hezbollah,13 Hizb Ut-Tahrir,14 ISIS, the Turkish Milli Görus as well as Salafists.


The study concludes that the more than one hundred antisemitic incidents officially caused by Muslims in 2017 are most likely only the tip of the iceberg.15 Due to the importance of the government agency which has published this report, Muslim antisemitism in Germany has now finally been officially detailed to the public. This has been overdue for far too long.


Shortly after the above document, a 178 page report was published by the Liberal Islamischer Bund (Liberal Islamic Association) entitled: Empowerment instead of antisemitism.16 17 It was inter-alia financed by the German government office for migration and refugees. The report shows that many Muslim teens justify their antisemitic attitudes with the argument that they themselves have experienced degradation and intolerance due to increasing Islamophobia. It concludes that members of the Muslim minority seek a scapegoat in an even smaller minority, the Jews.


The report came under heavy criticism. Political correspondent at Die Welt, Alan Posener wrote that antisemitism among Muslim youth is the result of pre-existing antisemitic prejudice.18 Political scientist Hamed Abdel-Samad also denied that Muslim antisemitism is the result of “Islamophobia”. He wrote that if this were the case, the Muslim world would be free of Islamism and antisemitism since Islamophobia is non-existent in those countries.19



1, pg. 5

2 Ibid, pg. 6

3 Ibid, pg. 7

4 Ibid, pg. 7




9 Ibid, pg. 20

10 Ibid, pg. 22

11 Ibid, pg. 27

12 Ibid, pg. 28

13 Ibid, pg. 29

14 Ibid, pg. 32

15 Ibid, pg. 38

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