The chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims says Muslims and mosques are being increasingly targeted in the country following the rise of Islamophobia in Europe.
“Insults against Muslims, often women with a headscarf, vandalism against mosques and violence against imams have become a daily occurrence,” said Aiman Mazyek on Saturday.
Mazyek held the right-wing PEGIDA group accountable for the increasing number of attacks on Muslims and Islamic sites, saying the movement has “led directly to the lowering of many people’s inhibitions about discriminating against and attacking Muslims.”
He also highlighted the role of Muslim clerics in the fight against Takfiri extremism, which has caused worries in Europe and handed a pretext to anti-Muslim groups to pursue their campaign following the recent wave of terrorist attacks in France by the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda.
“We need more support from society and politicians. For example imams need to be better educated so that they know how to deal with radicals and recognize the signs of radicalization earlier,” Mazyek stated.
The reports also indicate that Muslim students across the UK are suffering a backlash of abuse amid rising Islamophobic sentiments in schools.
The PEGIDA movement, which is a staunch opponent of Muslims and asylum seekers, began its rallies in October and has managed to attract thousands of supporters across Germany since then.
PEGIDA is a German acronym which stands for the “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.”