When taking into consideration the question of racism in Germany, I think it should not be compared with racist parties or movements in other countries such as Golden Dawn in Greece and the National Front Party in France.
There is a saying in German: "Bevor wir andere kritisieren, sollten wir erst einmal vor der eigenen Tür kehren," which translates as, "We should first clean our own doorway before criticizing others." And Germany urgently needs to take its own advice.
Now, when certain groups with close relations with the Armenian diaspora, and groups who are against Turkey in Germany were preparing to stage demonstrations against Turkey in May, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met the representatives of the non-Muslim minority communities at a lunch in Istanbul. Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, Deputy Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church Peter Stefanos, Vicar-General of the Chaldean Catholic community of Turkey Francois Yakan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church Yusuf Çetin, Turkish ambassador to the Vatican Mehmet Paçacı, Patriarchal Vicar of the Syrian Catholic Church in Turkey Yusuf Sağ, Apostolic Administrator of the Armenian Catholic Archbishop Levan Zekiyan, Chief Rabbi İshak Haleva and Archbishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church Aram Ateşyan attended.
During the meeting, it was decided to construct a new church in Istanbul's Yeşilköy neighborhood, and a fact that some circles in the EU insist on ignoring was once again underlined – non-Muslims living in Turkey are content with the new Turkey.
However, Muslims living in Germany are anxious.
The members of a new German "intellectual," racist organization, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident (PEGIDA), gather every Monday and march against Islam. And they have recently drawn swastikas and written racist slogans such as "down with Islam," "Turks will be killed" and "swine Turks" on the walls of Burg Primary School, Leibniz High School and other buildings located in Schüztenplatz Square in the town of Dormagen, which is 593 kilometers from Dresden where almost no Muslims live.
This is not the first ugly attack in Dormagen. On Dec. 21, 2014, at around 4:20 a.m., the Dormagen Ditib Mosque was the target of a racist attack. The Police launched an investigation into the attack, in which racist and hateful words were written on the walls and the minaret of the mosque. The Düsseldorf Prosecutor's Office, coordinating the investigation, announced a reward of 1,500 euros in order to identify the offenders and shed light on the incident.
According to 2013 statistics, 62,521 people (30,730 male and 30,791 female) live in Dormagen. It is quite a small town. And the total number of foreigners living in Dormagen is 6,623. In Dormagen, which has 25 churches including 14 Catholic, nine Protestant and two other churches, there are only four mosques, and one of them is under construction. Seemingly these mosques have annoyed someone.
The investigation launched after the Dec. 21 attack in Dormagen seemingly could not yield tangible results. Roughly two weeks later, the skinheads of Dormagen made their second move.
Dormagen is only one instance. If racists and neo-Nazis could comfortably act in a small town like Dormagen, then what is the general picture in Germany overall, whose population is 82 million?
Muslims living Germany are rightfully anxious. Between August and December 2014, a total of 15 attacks were organized in Germany, 11 of them targeting mosques.
Turkish-origin Muslims in Germany still anxiously read the writing on the backs of members of the neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), which is notorious for the murders publicly known as "döner killings," which are not yet solved.
The situation is also grave in other parts of the EU. According to the latest report by the Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Commission, "in 2014, 38 attacks were organized in Germany, eight attacks were made in Austria, seven in Bulgaria, two in Belgium, Netherlands and Swede, and one in France."
Racism and xenophobia in Europe have evolved into Islamophobia in recent years.
Formerly, racists and neo-Nazis used to write "Turks, get out!" and now they are writing slogans such as "down with Islam" or "get out, Muslims!"
Calling innocent Muslims peacefully living in EU countries to account for the deeds of the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), is the greatest harm that could be done to them. But unfortunately, this is the current case.
As PEGIDA emerged in Dresden, the assaults against Muslims and mosques have increased in Germany.
All EU countries, particularly Germany, should not keep their heads in the sand, but must realise the level Islamophobia has reached. Not acknowledging racism will not make it go away.
Not only the EU Commission and the European Parliament, but also the governments and parliaments of all EU member countries must decide on urgent measures and immediately implement them.
The counter-protests staged by thousands of people against PEGIDA and racism raise hopes. However, an increase in effective police measures is critical. Just like the ongoing determined fight against ISIS, a determined fight is also required against the racist terrorists and their proponents who adopt violence as a fighting technique.