SHAFAQNA – Amid a series of attacks in Europe, another mosque was burnt in Germany on Tuesday morning, adding to the increasing number of Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Islamic centres in recent months. “At first we thought the tea burnt. But then we noticed the smoke in the prayer room” said Veysel Arslan. According to the eye witness, the Sultan Ahmet Cami Mosque in the University city of Witten, located in the district of North Rhine-Westphalian was raised on fire on Monday night at around 23.30 local time according to German daily DerWesten.
The offender was said to have entered the compound from the rear side via the window, pouring gasoline in the prayer room. After he reportedly set the gasoline on fire, he fled the scene using the entrance gate of the mosque.
The Mosque also comprises a residential apartment where four families with children live, but fortunately the fire extinguished by itself.
Veysel Arslan, who also resides in the mosque, observed that the smoke had filled the praying room as he woke up for the Fajr prayer. Meanwhile, the police have seized the crime scene and experts are examining the burn marks. Xenophobic attack has not been excluded from the investigation.
In Germany alone, 81 attacks targeting mosques have been carried out since 2012.
Meanwhile, 219 attacks were carried out between 2001 and 2012, reflecting a worrying anti-Muslim trend that targeted the religious minority across Europe.
In the Netherlands, four suspects attempted to attack a mosque run by Turks last June, but the Muslim community was able to prevent the attack.
Racist and Islamophobic attacks have also targeted mosques in Denmark and the UK, although there were no casualties.
Germany is believed to be home to nearly 4 million Muslims, including 220,000 in Berlin alone. Turks make up an estimated two thirds of the Muslim minority.
Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbours.
A November 2012 study showed that right-wing extremism is notably rising in Germany, particularly in the east of the European country.
The study, “The Changing Society: Right-wing Views in Germany 2012”, found that the number of Germans identifying themselves as right-wing has grown.
The report indicated that 9 percent of Germans have adopted extreme right-wing beliefs, up from 8.2 percent two years ago.
Source : Onislam.net