Opinion | How German conservatives are waging a crusade against Muslim civil society

Published on 02 May 2023

This op-ed by Bridge Initiative Senior Researcher Farid Hafez originally appeared in Middle East Eye

It was one of the latest initiatives of the German conservatives in the midst of the election campaign in 2021: a crusade against organised Muslims in the name of fighting the spectre of “political Islamism“. After losing the election and withdrawing from the government following a 16-year tenure, the Christian Democratic Union not only continues to support anti-Muslim policies but has doubled down on this stance.

In a position paper published in April 2021 and dedicated to fighting what has been dubbed “political Islam”, the party proposed to harden its stance towards surveilling, limiting, and potentially cracking down on Muslim civil society. Members on the party’s Europeannational, and regional levels are promoting anti-Muslim stances. The more recent trends are even more worrying.

After a coalition between the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals formed a new government in December 2021, a pilot project of the Christian Democratic parties, the Christian Democratic Union for Germany (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) – the establishment of the “Expert Group on Political Islamism” – was not renewed.

The group, launched by the Ministry of Interior, included proponents of anti-Muslim policies such as Mouhanad Khorchide, who is simultaneously serving the Austrian Documentation Centre Political Islam and has embraced the authoritarian discourse of Egypt. The group’s focus was initially to conduct research and analyse so-called “political Islam”, a notion that is not only very vague but has also served to legitimise the targeting and repression of Muslim civil society. Targeting Muslim civil society

To read the full article, click below:

Read the full article