“Remove the breeding ground for enemy images”

The Bundestag debated racist violence after the Hanau attack. "Terror in Germany comes from the far right," says Markus Grubel, the federal government's commissioner for religion. The AfD bears a share of the responsibility.

Interviewer: How important it is that the incidents of Hanau have now been and are being discussed in such a prominent place – in the Bundestag?

Markus Grubel (CDU member of the Bundestag and federal government commissioner for religion): Thursday's debate was in what is known as core time, the time for the most important debates. And that is exactly where it belongs. We owe this to the victims and the families of the victims. But we also owe this to our country, so that such incidents can not happen again.

These attacks in Halle and Hanau, which were at ie, were also attacks on religious freedom in Germany. They were attacks against Jews and Muslims. And we have to take massive action against this, as members of parliament, as a government. Our forum as parliament is the parliamentary debate. And that is why it was good and right to discuss this precisely in core time – in the most important debate time.

Interviewer: Your parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus said in the Bundestag: "What must shake us as politicians is the fact that people in this country are afraid again – because they belong to a certain group, because they have a certain faith and because they feel the state cannot protect them."Would you agree? Do people in Germany have to be afraid today because of their religious convictions??

Grubel: The attacks show that they have reason to fear. But the reactions to this also show that we want to take up the fight, that we want to counter enemy images, that we want to eliminate distorted images in our minds, that we want to clearly name terror as such, that we also want to say where terror comes from.

The current situation is that terror in Germany comes from the far right. We also say where it finds a breeding ground – especially in the social networks, where distorted images and images of the enemy are reinforced. That is why it is right: There is cause for concern. But there is also a reason to take action and not just let this stand, but to counter it with activities.

Interviewer: Do you have an example of what you as a religious representative and the government are doing to take away people's fears?

Grubel: One is the measures taken by the police. We already had an increase of the police – also criminal police and federal interception service. But we also need, in order to remove the breeding ground, encounters with people who come from other countries, with people who have a different religion.

That's why I demand: We have to know more about Judaism, about Islam, also about Christianity. We need more information in the classroom and in the media. The synagogues, mosques and churches must open up and provide information about the different religions so that such enemy images and distorted images do not arise.

Interviewer: Just hours after the Federal Prosecutor General declared that the Hanau murders were presumably the work of a perpetrator with racist sentiments, politicians from the Left, Greens, SPD, FDP and CDU/CSU have made a connection to the AfD. Join this? Does the AfD bear a share of the responsibility?

Grubel: Yes, the AfD bears a responsibility because it works with enemy images. I mention, for example, the remarks of the MP Alice Weidel, who spoke of knifemen, headscarf girls and so on, and basically excluded a whole religious community with it. Whoever works with such enemy images prepares the ground for lone perpetrators who commit such crimes.

The interview was conducted by Uta Vorbrodt.

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