One collective, three opinions: how to deal with the attack on the DITIB mosque

In December 2021, the DITIB mosque on Hermann-Liebmann-Strasse in Leipzig was attacked by a spontaneous left-wing demonstration. Legitimate, some say, since DITIB is controlled by the authoritarian Turkish state and cooperates with fascists. A no-go, because it is about a shelter for primarily migrants in a racially charged social climate, say the others.

We represent three positions from the linXXnet collective, which open up the field of tension of the controversial debates in which we are not the only ones to move.

Statement Jule

The attack on the DITIB mosque on Hermann-Liebmann-Strasse in Leipzig weighs heavily and justifiably makes waves. Still. On Monday, December 13.12.21th, XNUMX, the building was attacked in the course of a spontaneous left-wing demonstration.

Regardless of whether the attack, which broke windows in the residential building in which the mosque is located, was an emotional act or was planned, I don't think this is the right way of critically examining this mosque community.

1. Attacks on Muslim communities in Germany are a matter for racists. One thing to remember is the right-wing terrorist attack on the DITIB mosque in Dresden in 2016. Despite all the legitimate criticisms of religious institutions and the DITIB association in particular, leftists in Germany have to side with people who are racially discriminated against. Attacks on Muslim migrant prayer and retreat rooms are wrong and can never be a leftist thing. In Saxony in particular, the rejection of Muslims is particularly pronounced (according to Sachsenmonitor 2018, 41% of the Saxons surveyed think that “Muslims should be prohibited from immigrating to Germany”) and this Islamophobia has racist connotations and makes no distinction between individuals religious communities and political nuances.

2. Nevertheless, I have a critical distance to religious communities in general and explicitly the DITIB Mosque Association. This will be known from financed by the Turkish state and is thus directly managed by the dictator Erdoğan influenced. This also means that DITIB at least tolerates, if not even supports, the persecution and repression against Kurds. I am associated with the Kurds' struggles in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Many of our comrades fled to Germany because of the repression and work side by side with us for social change, here and there elsewhere. From my point of view, a critical look at the DITIB must differentiate: between the institution and its interdependencies on the one hand, and the people who feel connected to the specific local mosque associations on the other. The connection to the Eyüp Sultan Mosque in Herrmann-Liebmann-Strasse, for example, can have very different reasons: Being able to speak your own language, people from the countries of origin to meet, to take advantage of offers for children, young people or women, to be able to use services from the environment of the mosque association or to practice the Islamic faith collectively. In my view, a left critical of religion and DITIB must work on to replace the practical relevance of this or other religious communities with alternative offers that are, at best, non-religious. Propagandistic slogans and stones will not help on this path. On the contrary.

Statement Leopold

I don't think that the attack on the DITIB mosque was made out of racist considerations, but in solidarity with all people who are being persecuted and attacked by the Turkish state. It should nevertheless be clear to those who have done this that this cannot be conveyed to the residents of the house and in the district. Actually a basic condition of this form of action. What the militant anti-fascists on 13.12. wanted there with the damaged cars and this attack does not open up. How should solidarity with a district affected by massive racist police practices be communicated? Who has been overwhelmed with racist attributions in the media and by various political actors/parties for years and is affected by repression. It needs an exchange with all those who see this demo as a racist attack. However, this should also be possible without DITIB or representatives of religions. After all, a left-wing movement once stood up for “freedom from religions”. Do all religions only prevent people from creating a better society for everyone and to endure and endure the shitty reality in the "here and now".

Finally, a statement from Civan Akbulut: Just spoken to friends from Kurdistan. You are following my current engagement against DITIB. The friends are shocked about how parts of the “German Left” position themselves towards DITIB. One is persecuted and suppressed by the Turkish regime & in Germany “German Leftists” collect donations for its extended arm. Solidarity for those who otherwise incite hatred against minorities and those who think differently. DITIB is involved in numerous scandals. Officials had published Islamist content and commitments to Gray Wolves on their profiles. In addition, DITIB imams had spied on people in Germany for the Turkish regime. During the Turkish military operation against Afrin, which violated international law, prayers were said for soldiers in the relevant mosques. Those soldiers who committed war crimes together with Islamist militias in Rojava. Fascists don't come and say: “Hello, here we are”. They get involved in society, spread their propaganda & create political influence - discreetly and in the long term. Other communities are pushed aside, people want to be without alternatives. One can position oneself against attacks on mosques without immediately showing solidarity with DITIB. Anyone who does so is certainly not doing it out of charity. There is a system to this, from long-established faces.

Statement Micah

On December 13, a left-wing demonstration in Leipzig involved an attack on a DITIB mosque. I don't even want to discuss the question of whether an attack on anything is an appropriate means of criticism. Much has been written about this issue of violence. The attack on the DTIB mosque in Leipzig did not primarily cause agitated feelings within the left because of the question of violence, but because the target was a mosque.
While the left faces violence against other institutions, which are considered to be carriers of misanthropic ideologies, with the usual indifference (why should one have sympathy for the right wing?), the reactions after the attack on the DITIB mosque ranged from condemnation of the act (with tentative criticism to DITIB) to solidarity. But why are the reactions so different when DITIB is also an association that is actually a clear opponent of the political left? The new right equates “Islam” and “migration”. For them, every Muslim is a migrant and every migrant is a Muslim. Bio-German Islamists and non-Muslim migrants do not appear in their logic. The supposed criticism of Islam by the new right is accordingly directed against migrants and is no more than disguised racism. The left naturally and completely correctly opposed the racist PEGIDA protests. When some leftists posit that an attack on a mosque is racist per se, they adopt this logic from Islam = migration. Since anti-racism is part of the self-image of the left, solidarity and condemnation of the crime follow almost automatically. Whether an act is considered racist or not must not depend solely on the victim's religious affiliation or migration history, but must above all consider the political background to the act. Otherwise, the qualitative differences between a left-wing attack on a mosque association, because it is nationalistic and reactionary, and a right-wing attack on Muslims, because as migrants they have no place in the Christian Occident according to right-wing blood and soil logic , face down. Such a concept of racism would be worthless because it would make criticism of religious and/or cultural practices impossible. Quite apart from the fact that such an analysis shows frightening parallels to the bourgeois horseshoe theory.

I therefore advocate that we stop using double standards. DITIB is close to the right-wing AKP and its President Erdogan, who dreams of a neo-Ottoman empire. In general, DITIB is not a space for emancipatory and enlightening values. The president of the religious authority, which DITIB reports to, describes homosexuality as an "unnatural perversion". Connections to the fascist Gray Wolves are also not uncommon. Nationalism is good form for DITIB officials. The desire to "overthrow all relationships in which man is a degraded, enslaved, abandoned, despicable being" is the goal of the radical left. Criticism of religion has long been an integral part of left-wing politics. Today she seems to find this easier with some religions than with others. In any case, I am not aware of any major discussions about racism in the wake of the protests against the Leipzig Catholic Day in 2016. Our reaction to DITIB should not be any different than that of Christian sects or right-wing parties. Nobody has to defend an attack on DITIB as legitimate criticism. Compassion, solidarity and taking sides with an association that stands against everything that the left are fighting for is completely out of place. Only in this way can the Left credibly stand in solidarity with homosexuals, women, Kurds and other victims of inhuman ideologies.

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