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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Acts of terror increasing throughout
Germany’s Angela Merkel Says
Terrorists Commit ‘Blasphemy’
by Andrea Thomas
Chancellor Asks Islamic Leaders to Clarify Religion’s Stand on Extremism
BERLIN—Terrorists killing people in the name of God are committing
blasphemy, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, calling on Islamic
leaders to clarify the relationship between their religion and the
militants who claim to act in its name.
In a declaration to Germany’s lower house of parliament on last week’s
terror attacks in Paris and underlining previous comments on the
importance of national unity, Ms. Merkel said terrorist actions are
probably the result of a certain interpretation of religion “that
assumes being allowed to act, punish, kill on God’s behalf.”
“But for me, this is nothing but blasphemy. Terrorists’ actual
motivation is in their conviction that they stand above others because
they believe they are God’s representative, because they mean to have a
historic mission, because they are convinced that they stand above
others due to their faith, origin, descent, sex.”
In her speech, she also reiterated that Islam belongs to Germany—she has
said her government is doing everything it can to ensure migrants
successfully integrate into German society regardless of their religion.
The comment has caused controversy in a country debating the threat of
radical Islam and how willing some Muslims are to accept the rules of a
largely secular culture.
Thousands of protesters have been holding weekly rallies across the
country since October, denouncing what they call an “Islamization” of
Ms. Merkel said that although most Germans aren’t hostile toward the
teachings of the Quran, they also aren’t sure which version of Islam
belongs to Germany—a militant or a peaceful one.
“They want to know why terrorists have so little regard for the value of
human life and why they tie their crimes to their faith. They ask how
they can trust the phrase that murderers who claim to act in the name of
Islam have nothing to do with Islam,” Ms. Merkel said. “I want to
emphasize that these are valid questions. I believe we urgently need a
clarification of these questions by Islam’s religious leaders. This
issue can’t be evaded any longer.”
Ms. Merkel also said Europe should act fast to improve security laws.
She called on the European Commission—the European Union’s executive
arm—to quickly provide revised guidelines over the retention of
individuals’ phone and Internet data that would allow better prevention
and investigation of crimes. Germany would then quickly implement these
rules, Ms. Merkel said.
The German cabinet Wednesday approved a draft bill to allow authorities
to withdraw the national identification cards of suspected Islamic
extremists, in bid to prevent them from traveling to Syria and Iraq and
receive training from Islamic State militant groups.
German security officials estimate that some 550 Islamists have left
Germany and headed to Syria since 2012. Officials are concerned that
those returning are a security risk because they might be radicalized or
Write to Andrea Thomas at