German Muslims hold rallies to support freedom of press
The Turkish Muslim community has condemned Friday the attack against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by organizing solidarity rallies in front of media buildings across Germany Anadolu Agency reported
Hundreds of Muslims and their imams visited media companies in 60 German cities, laid flowers in memory of the victims and made statements defending freedom of the press and peaceful coexistence.
"According to our religion, nobody has the right to act in the name of Allah, let alone to decide life and death of others," imam Suleyman Kucuk, one of the organizers, said at a demonstration in Berlin, in front of Germany's largest publishing house Axel Springer.
"For Muslims, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are among the fundamental human rights. Just like the freedom of religion," he stressed.
"The recent terror attacks on the media professionals did not only target France but also our free society," Kucuk said.
Demonstrators carried signs emphasizing the support of Muslims for freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
Kai Diekmann, editor-in-chief of Germany's bestselling newspaper Bild thanked Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, an umbrella organization of around 900 Turkish mosque associations in Germany, which organized the demonstrations.
Diekmann said that the clear stance taken by the organization and the Muslim community against violence and freedom of the press constituted a strong message for peaceful coexistence in Germany.
Rallies also occurred in such major cities as Cologne, Hamburg, Mainz, Munich and Nuremberg.
Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe, after France.
Among the four million Muslims in the country, three million are of Turkish origin.
Suspicion and intolerance towards Muslims has increased in Germany after the attacks in Paris last week.
Twelve people, including prominent journalists and cartoonists, were killed last Wednesday when two masked gunmen attacked the Paris headquarters of the magazine, known for publishing provocative material, including cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Five other people, including a policewoman and four hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris, were killed by Amedy Coulibaly, who had links with the two suspected gunmen, brothers Cherif and Said Kaouchi.
Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen, Al -Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the attack on Wednesday, saying it had been ordered by top leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.