The right-wingers are hungry for symbols shortly before the state elections in Saxony. So they want to demonstrate in Dresden against the construction of a mosque.
There is already a mosque building in Dresden: The Fatih Camii Mosque Photo: dpa
The announcement was big: Around the clock, the right-wing "Heidenauer wavelength" wants to besiege the house of the Muslim Marwa El-Sherbinis community. Because a new house of prayer is to be built here inshallah. Although the plans for the development of the former Drewag site have not yet been approved, the right-wingers are hungry for symbols shortly before the state elections. So they had called for disrupting the Dhuhur prayer at noon on Friday by ringing bells – which is a criminal offense. But the group did not cause a disturbance – it just looked rather silly.
The "Heidenau Wavelength" had tried to mobilize its supporters via live videos on Facebook and YouTube. Always at the center: Madeleine Feige. The far-right activist is known as an interface between the extremist scene and civil society in Saxony.
On Tuesday, the Marwa El-Sherbini Association published a statement naming the problem: "Anti-Muslim racism – a spreading disease in our society." This disease cost namesake Marwa El-Sherbini her life ten years ago. The Egyptian handball player, pharmacist and Muslim woman was killed July 1, 2009, in a Dresden courtroom by stab wounds from a racist. The murder and its coverage had raised questions about the lack of protection against anti-Muslim racism.
So now, ten years later, this discourse is topical again. Friday, 28 Dhu’l Hijja 1440, 30. August 2019, on the way to the house of the Marwa El-Sherbini Association. The northern Marschnerstrabe is in the quiet heat of midday, not a soul to be seen. Only at the wheel of a low-slung, black VW bus sits a man wearing mirrored sunglasses on his bald head. From a distance, there is no sign of a mosque. Only a German flag can be seen. It hangs on a pavilion.
No protest in bikini
When the police forbade the group in advance to disturb the prayer with noise, Feige announced her new plan on Thursday evening. Instead of bells, supporters would show up in bikinis and swim trunks to disrupt the prayer. "Silent but creative," she called her idea for provocation. It was well received by the Facebook community. But there are only about two dozen people on site, no one wears swimwear, but a flower blouse and AfD shirt. Only a few deck chairs and straw hats are reminiscent of the beach. As often as the right-wingers in Saxony create threatening scenes – here they seem rather silly.
Six weeks in the east: Before the state elections in Saxony on September 1, 2019, the taz was in Dresden. Since July 22, we have been on the ground with our own editorial team. We are or were also very close in Brandenburg and Thuringia before the state elections with our #tazost focus – on https://livenn.ru, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope. Our journalists write and talk about their latest experiences on the Ostblog and Ostcast. Accompanying the reporting, there are taz talks in Frankfurt (Oder), Dresden, Wurzen and Grimma. All information about taz Ost can be found at https://livenn.ruost.
Pastor Tobias Funke of the Johanneskirch parish is glad that the city has prohibited against the planned carillon in advance. "This would instrumentalize Christian symbolism," he says on the sidelines. This is out of place, he says, because the communities in this part of town stand together. The Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities have been holding joint meetings for a year, talking about God and the world – discussing how to react if the child suddenly had a friend of the other religion.
The Christian is a friend of the Muslim community. This is evident when his voice echoes through the loudspeakers on the mosque forecourt before the prayer. Green carpets are rolled out in front of the turquoise flat building. Men sit in the shade of the barracks or under the attached wooden roof and listen. Funke introduces himself and positions himself for peaceful coexistence. The glances of the men outside occasionally roam through the fence to the people on the other side of the intersection.
Peaceful coexistence – the Muslim association is also committed to this. Its motto is the preservation of tolerance, integration and community. It offers German as well as Arabic courses, divorce as well as marriage groups – is "social rest and anchor point", as it is written in a statement from Tuesday and said on today.
Like an open mosque day
Despite the threat, which has now lasted five days, they had decided to let operations continue in their home. Its members are to "respond respectfully and calmly" to racist provocations, it says. A few men scurry from the track into the courtyard, awkwardly smiling like schoolboys late for class. A tension is palpable.
When the muezzin begins, silence reigns – Pegida and the police watch spellbound. It almost seems like an open mosque day. Only a small child of supporters croaks. Some have come. Next to the hundreds of people praying, they seem few. Shortly after, it is already over, the shoes are put on for the way back to the streetcar.
A young man is one of the first on the sidewalk. He takes a photo with his smartphone of the nearly 30 right-wingers, then the filled forecourt of the church, then a selfie of himself with a laughing face and peace sign. Behind him: the brown-blue pavilion.
In terms of personnel, this Friday once again shows the intertwining of "center right" and right-wing extremism. But it also shows that they are not always many, and not always loud. Shows a mindful community and also that the police are not always on the right side. These are important signs for Dresden and its Muslim community.