Nov. 9, 2023
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday called on citizens to take a stronger stance against antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism amid a surge in hate crimes in recent weeks, reports Anadolu Agency.
“I am concerned that the violence in the Middle East is also seriously endangering social peace in Germany,” Steinmeier said, as he hosted representatives of Jewish and Muslim communities at the Bellevue Palace.
Steinmeier said Germany is a cosmopolitan, diverse country, where people with different ethnic and religious backgrounds live together, and he thanked community leaders for their efforts to safeguard peaceful coexistence.
“I would like to address the Palestinian community in our country. You should all have space to share your pain and despair over the civilian casualties in Gaza,” he said, adding that their peaceful demonstrations are guaranteed by the constitution.
“And this right is not in question. And there must be no anti-Muslim racism and no general suspicion of Muslims,” he added.
Palestinian groups organized dozens of rallies in recent weeks to condemn Israeli military strikes on Gaza, as death toll surpassed 10,500, including 4,324 children.
A vast majority of the demonstrators were peaceful, but some German politicians demanded a ban on such protests, claiming that they were anti-Israel and supportive of Israel.
The German president said while peaceful protests are a constitutional right, authorities would not tolerate any acts of hatred or antisemitism.