Far-Right Provocation: Berlin Worried About ‘Muhammad Cartoon Contest’
A far-right group in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is running a ‘Muslim cartoon contest’ and plans to display the works outside mosques. The move has alarmed authorities which fear it could incite violence and hurt German interests abroad, similar to the backlash that followed the 2005 publication of cartoons in Danish newspapers.
The German government has voiced concern that far-right activists in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia may incite violence with plans to hold a so-called “Muhammad cartoon contest” and to stage demonstrations outside mosques in the run-up to a regional election there on May 13.
SPIEGEL has learned that Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich warned of a confrontation between Salafists and right-wing extremists which he said could have unforeseeable consequences for public safety.
Pro-NRW, which has been categorized as an extremist right-wing group by the domestic intelligence agency, has said it plans to display the cartoons outside 25 mosques in the state.
Friedrich told lawmakers that this deliberate provocation would inflame tensions and lead to violent clashes, and that German embassies and companies operating abroad may also be affected, similar to the protests in Muslim countries following the publication in 2005 of Muhammad cartoons in Danish newspapers.
Friedrich’s state secretary, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, has telephoned the North Rhine-Westphalia government several times in recent days to discuss the problem. The state’s interior minister, Ralf Jäger, said: “The so-called cartoon contest is deliberately aimed at provoking Muslims.” He said he had instructed police to prevent demonstrators from protesting in the immediate proximity of mosques.