Postcard from... Berlin


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The Independent Online

Anti-Islamic fervour is supposedly on the wane in Germany. This is at least in part because Pegida (which stands for Patriotic Europeans against Islamisation of the West) has split apart.

The rift follows a bitter row within the Dresden-based movement about Facebook photos of Pegida’s leader posing as Adolf Hitler. But just as the flames of xenophobia were subsiding, a radical imam has thrown fat on the fire.

Egyptian preacher Sheikh Abdel Moez al-Eila has angered people by claiming in a sermon that women have no right to refuse to have sex with their husbands and should not get a job or leave the house without their husband’s permission.

“A wife is not allowed to say ‘no’ under any pretext,” he told the Muslim faithful attending Berlin’s Al-Nur mosque.

Angela Merkel has tried to defuse recent tensions by insisting that Islam is a part of Germany. But her political colleagues in Berlin’s Christian Democratic Party are furious. One of its councillors demanded that Germany’s Muslims distance themselves from Sheikh Abdel Moez.

Several Muslim leaders have done so, pointing out that what the imam said was in breach of the German constitution.

But Pegida is delighted. “There is no Islamisation?” it wrote on its Facebook site.