Islamists rally for German ‘Caliphate’ in Hamburg

Over 1,000 demonstrators joined an event organized by a member of an “established extremist group,” the police have said

A large-scale rally “against Islamophobia” was held in the German northern city of Hamburg on Saturday. According to the German authorities, the event was organized by a person linked to an “established extremist group.” 

Around 1,100 demonstrators took part in the rally, according to the police data cited by the dpa news agency and published by the city authorities on their official portal. Photos and videos that surfaced on social media show a large crowd occupying a significant area along Steindamm Street in the city center. 

The participants were seen to be holding placards and posters reading, “Germany = dictatorship of values” and “Caliphate is the solution.” Some pro-Palestinian slogans, like “Palestine has won the information war,” could be seen on the placards and banners as well. The demonstrators were also repeatedly chanting “Allahu Akbar” when asked by the speakers on multiple occasions throughout the event.  

According to the organizers cited by the German media, the rally was organized to protest against what they called Islamophobic policy and the alleged media disinformation campaign against Muslims in Germany. Speakers accused the politicians and journalists of “cheap lies” and “cowardly reporting” amid the continued conflict between Israel and the Gaza-based Hamas militant group. 

People on social media also claimed that the speakers called for an Islamic Caliphate to be established in Germany. Some of the videos published on social networks showed one of the speakers praising a caliphate as a “system that … provides security” while stating that it is “hated” and “demonized” in Germany. The crowd can be seen responding to those statements with “Allahu Akbar” chants. 

The rally organizer was identified by the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper as Joe Adade Boateng, 25, a German citizen and a self-styled “imam” spreading what the paper described as “Islamist propaganda” on social media, including TikTok. 

According to the media reports, the man was also a member of the “Muslim Interaktiv” group – an organization officially designated by the German domestic security service (BfV) as an “established extremist group.” 

The status does not lead to an automatic ban in Germany but allows security officials to target a group’s members with all intelligence tools available, including covert surveillance, confidential informants, and phone tapping. 

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The German police said they had deployed large forces to the event, which ended “peacefully” without any incidents. No major police presence can be seen in the videos that were posted on social media, though. 

The group also held an unannounced rally in October last year, which ended in clashes with police. The demonstrators were pelting the officers with bottles and stones at that time, injuring three of them. Criminal proceedings were then initiated against 20 rioters. 

In February 2023, “Muslim Interaktiv” also held a protest against Koran burning in Sweden, which was attended by 3,500 people, according to the media.

The development sparked concerns among some politicians. Kazim Abaci, a migration policy spokesman for the Social Democratic faction in the Hamburg parliament, called it “unbearable” that Islamists were allowed to freely march through the city streets. According to the Hamburger Morgenpost, Herbert Reul, the Interior Minister of the German neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, had also been calling for a “Muslim Interaktiv” ban “for a long time.”

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