The Saudi-financed King Fahd Academy in Bonn, Germany is once again in the news, this time as the center of a violent conflict between Islamic extremists and anti-Muslim protestors. According to a New York Times report:
June 4, 2012 BONN — The people who live in the trim row houses with well-tended gardens that line the streets of this spa town along the Rhine like to boast of their city’s tolerance as the onetime home to dozens of foreign embassies, when Bonn served as capital of West Germany. We used to be a city of diplomats,’ said Christa Menden, who owns a flower shop. But since the capital of the reunited Germany decamped to Berlin in 1999, the diplomats have gone. In their place is an expanding population of Muslim immigrant families, many of whom moved into the neighborhood of Bad Godesberg to fill the housing glut left behind. Today once-tranquil Bonn has become known as a volatile cocktail of social tensions, between its Muslim newcomers, who include some German converts as well as immigrants from Arab-speaking countries, with some hard-core elements, and a far-right nationalist group that has mounted a growing campaign against them. Last month, some 200 Muslims, many from other cities, gathered to defend the honor of their prophet after the far-right party, the Pro-NRW (for North Rhine-Westphalia), threatened to display caricatures of Muhammad as part of an anti-Muslim rally in front of the King Fahd Academy, an Islamic school built with Saudi money in 1995. The authorities had tried but failed to win a court injunction preventing the rightists from doing so and instead tried to park police vans to block the view. But after one of the 30 or so rightists climbed on the shoulders of another to flash the offending cartoon at the Muslims, who had just finished praying, a shower of rocks and shards from smashed flower pots flew at the police. ‘They just exploded,’ said Robin Fassbender, a prosecutor in Bonn, who has started an attempted-murder investigation against a 25-year-old Muslim protester who sneaked through the police barrier and stabbed three officers, wounding two seriously. By the time the rioting stopped on May 6, the police had rounded up 109 Muslim protesters, many of whom had traveled to Bonn from elsewhere in Germany, according to the police. ‘They viewed the police as an organ of the state that wanted to insult Muslims by failing to prevent the caricatures from being shown,’ Mr. Fassbender said. ‘That is a different dimension of violence than these officers are used to. They are trained to regularly take stones and broken bottles, but not be specifically attacked like this.’ Days earlier the same far-right group had held a similar protest in Solingen, where the Muhammad cartoons were also paraded. The police in Solingen detained 32 Muslim protesters after they clashed with officers, throwing stones and charging barriers separating them from the far-right demonstrators. The violence, which was preceded by a nationwide Salafist action to hand out Korans in inner cities, has refocused the authorities’ attention on what they see as the threat posed by the Salafist movement.
Read the rest here.
The King Fahd Academy was first the subject of media attention on 2003 when German public television aired a documentary exposing the school’s ties to Islamic extremism. According to a Deutsche Welle report at that time:
After a documentary aired on German public television a week ago, interest in the activities at the Arab-language King Fahd Academy in Bonn was heightened. According to the show “Panorama,” the school had come under investigation for allegedly harboring ties to the terrorist network al Qaeda and other fundamental Muslim groups believed to operate in Germany. In addition, German security agencies had been reporting a significant influx of radical Islamists to the Bad Godesberg neighborhood in the former German capital where the school is located…..Both educators and security forces are worried that the school is a breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism and anti-democratic principles. According to the newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which quotes sources from within the interior ministry, the academy has attracted Islamists from across Germany to Bonn. The magazine reports that several fundamentalists well-known to security authorities, have sent their children to the school and to its affiliated mosque. Among them are Mamoud A, former head of the Islamist group frequented by Christian Ganczarski, the suspected accomplice of the Djerba bomber, and the Egyptian Sayed M., suspected member in the al Tawhid group with connections to al Qaeda. The Spiegel also reports that investigators have found traces linking the imprisoned al Qaeda financier Mamduh Salim to the school. In addition, the magazine says that the imam at the affiliated mosque has reportedly called upon teachers at the academy to prepare pupils for the “holy war.”
The King Fahd Academy was also accused of teaching hatred of Jews and Christians.
According to German TV reports, the King Fahd Academy maintained contact with the Islamische Geminschaft Deutschland (IGD), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany, and the academy’s registration papers indicated that in the event of its closure, its assets would revert to the IGD. In addition, an archived academy web page indicates the possibility that a member of the family of Abou Shewarib (aka Abou Shewareb) was involved with the King Fahd Academy. Shewarib was formerly under investigation by the German government as part of a Hamas fund-raising and money-laundering case and named in a 1997 media report as the head of Hamas in Berlin.