Ger­man court ac­quits ‘sharia police’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A GER­MAN court has ruled that a group of Is­lamists did not break the law in form­ing “sharia police” pa­trols and telling peo­ple to stop drink­ing, gam­bling and lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

The ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive Mus­lim group around Ger­man Salafist con­vert Sven Lau sparked pub­lic out­rage with their vig­i­lante pa­trols in the western city of Wuppertal in 2014, but prose­cu­tors have strug­gled to build a case against them.

The city’s district court ruled that the seven ac­cused mem­bers of the group did not breach a ban on po­lit­i­cal uni­forms when they ap­proached peo­ple while wear­ing orange vests bear­ing the words “Sharia Police”.

Judges said there could only be a vi­o­la­tion of the law – orig­i­nally aimed against street move­ments such as the early Nazi party – if the uni­forms were “sug­ges­tively mil­i­tant or in­tim­i­dat­ing”, a court spokesper­son said.

In this case, they found that the vests were not threat­en­ing and noted that one wit­ness said he thought the men were part of a bach­e­lor party.

The same court had al­ready thrown out the case last year, but was over­ruled on ap­peal by a higher court which agreed with prose­cu­tors that the ban on uni­forms could be ap­plied in this case.

So-called “sharia pa­trols” by some­times vi­o­lent rad­i­cal young Salafists have also been seen in other Euro­pean cities such as Lon­don, Copen­hagen and Ham­burg. –

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