A group of Islamic extremists who patrolled the streets of Wuppertal, Germany in orange vests bearing the words “Sharia police” will be tried in a German court. The men will be charged with wearing uniforms with political messages. The decision to charge the men will overturn a ruling made in December that stated their actions did not constitute a criminal violation of the ban on uniforms.
The eight men and their leader, Islamist preacher Sven Lau, were arrested in September 2014. The men patrolled the city of Wuppertal attempting to enforce strict sharia law. They reportedly approached people in nightclubs demanding they stop drinking alcohol and listening to music, they distributed sheets of paper that declared the area a “Sharia Controlled Zone” and damaged nightclubs when people refused to give in to their demands.
The men are self proclaimed Salafists and Lau is widely known as a head figure of the Salafist movement in Germany. Salafists are a group of fundamentalist Muslims who reject religious innovation and support the implementation of sharia law. The Salafist movement has grown rapidly in the past few years. There are approximately 1,800 followers of the extremist religion in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Wuppertal has become Germany’s most popular state for Salafists but local authorities refuse to let the Salafists force their views on other residents of the city. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made public comments stating that the Salafits have no right to do the police’s work. Police Chief Birgitta Rademacher has also publically stated that intimidation or provocation from the group will not be tolerated. Only police appointed and employed by the state will be given authority to enforce laws.
Eight of the nine men involved will face trial. What to you think is the proper response needed from local authorities? Sound off in the comment section!