Muslim students in Germany say an online campaign has been launched against them after digital meeting with Christian Democrat politician Norbert Rutgen and they are facing anti-Muslim Racism and Islamophobia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, recently held a digital meeting with Norbert Röttgen, a top politician in the party, with some Muslim students studying at German universities on scholarships. Students selected a few topics for this online discussion and prepared to discuss them. Topics chosen by the Muslim students in small groups included environmental policy, the future of the Christian Democratic Union CDU after Merkel’s tenure, and arrangements for dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
The Ibn Sina Scholarship Organization is a well-known German institution that provides research facilities to students and researchers from the Muslim world who come to Germany and become affiliated with higher education institutions here.
The Muslim students associated with the scholarship had prepared for a virtual discussion with CDU’s Norbert Rutgen, but they did not expect any negative reactions.
The series began when Norbert Rutgen posted a few photos of the meeting on social media platforms. The photos show about 20 young girls with headscarves.
Nada Kanani, a 22-year-old student who hosted the meeting, told Deutsche Welle, a German public state-owned international broadcaster: “More and more comments came, many of them full of hate,” she said. “Things like that are shared in far-right groups; they organize concerted action there. It was an inferno.”
As another form of expression of Islamophobia, a satire on Muslims continued after this recent online meeting. Nada Kanani says that it seems like a headscarf is enough to excuse for many people to disqualify any Muslim. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your education or career. You are considered a lowly human being as a Muslim woman. You’re just a woman with a headscarf.
Prejudices against Islam
Yasemin El-Menouar is the head of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Religious Affairs Monitoring Body, whose job is to monitor religious and social harmony. Speaking to Deutsche Welle, said that Muslims who are known for their attire, such as women wearing headscarves, are particularly vulnerable to this prejudice and hatred.
She said that it doesn’t matter who fits into society. Many Muslims in Germany have experienced this prejudice since childhood and many ‘religious monitor surveys’ have revealed this prejudice against Muslims.
Yasemin El-Menouar added that over the last ten years, suspicions about Islam have gripped half of Germany’s population. Such prejudices are no longer recognized as prejudices in society. In such an environment, Islamophobic sentiments are expressed more openly and freely. The internet certainly plays an important role here because the general principles of social communication are not in vogue here.