Sputnik discussed the terrorist threat to Europe and its roots with Dr. Malte Kaufmann, the Chairman of the Alternative für Deutschland Heidelberg, who said that he is shocked by the violence.
Sputnik: Can you please tell me what is your reaction to the recent terrorist attack in France, what are your thoughts on it?
Dr. Malte Kaufmann: This is really a bloody time in Europe, thousands of [Daesh]* terrorists and sympathizers have come to Europe through the migration routes and once in a while they attack, like what happened now in France.
Sputnik: Recently Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer said that Islam does not belong in the country, what are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Malte Kaufmann: I totally agree, you have to see that Germany is a basically Christian country that celebrated the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation of Martin Luther last year. We thought about him nailing those 95 theses on the church in Wittenberg. So our constitution, our set of values, our traditions are all not based on Islam, therefore Islam does not belong to Germany. Of course, we have Muslims in the country, we don't deny that, and many of them are also integrated and we accept that, but we do not want Islam to change our way of living and our set of rules.
Sputnik: What about freedom of religion?
Dr. Malte Kaufmann: Freedom of religion is a good thing and we cherish that just as we cherish freedom of speech, freedom of press and other freedoms that we have fought for in the last few decades, but you know, if in Islamic organizations we have suddenly Imams or leaders that support the jihad against Western culture and if Muslims are radicalized in these organizations that cannot fall under the headline of freedom of religion. I think we have to be very strict and very clear here and differentiate.
Sputnik: For instance, in the US, there are more people killed in the US by white American males than terrorists, just using guns and so forth, that's a gun issue of course as well, but do you think we have to crack down not on a particular religion but on any kind of extremism, there are the far-right that are actually extremely far-right, that are extremely violent…
Dr. Malte Kaufmann: You are totally right, we have to fight every form of extremism whether it's from the left or from the right. We have problems in both ways in our country and Germans are no angels either, so there's a lot to do for the police but this is an extra problem that came. I know from many police stations around here, in Heidelberg and in the surrounding villages, that are totally overwhelmed by the new situation and we have statistics and surveys that clearly show that the violence that comes from migrants, that came in the last few years is much higher, percentage-wise, than the violence that comes from Germans. So it is a problem and we should not deny it, and now we have to think how to deal with it.
Sputnik: Should this be dealt with as an anti-Muslim, anti-Islam or shouldn't it just be dealt with as any hate crimes, or provocation to violence, or against the German state, or the German people and should be treated more harshly, it doesn't matter what your religion is if you're saying that you should go and kill local people, fellow German citizens or residents then you should be subjected to all sorts of criminal proceedings and perhaps subjected to deportation if you are a migrant? Because there are Muslims that are integrated…
Dr. Malte Kaufmann: Sure — our cleaning lady in our house she's a Muslim and she's totally integrated and we do not have a problem with her, she's a friend of our family, but, you see, many migrants come from these Islamic countries like Syria and Afghanistan, Iraq and from Northern Africa, like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria.
So, there are surveys that have been made with those migrants that came in the past 2-3 years, concerning if they would accept our German constitution, and a large number — more than 50% of them, said no. For them, Sharia (law) is more important and stands higher than the laws of the country that they come into, and we must clearly say that this is not acceptable. If you want to come then you need to accept our way of living, for instance, equality between men and women, which we cherish very highly in our country.
Right now we have an uncontrolled, chaotic migration policy. People come that have to pay thousands of dollars to people traffickers so they can come by boat, over there by the Mediterranean Sea. They infiltrate into Europe and we do not know who is coming, if it's a real asylum-seeker, if it's a criminal…We don't know who is it and they just infiltrate without control and without security, and this situation needs to be stopped.
Sputnik: How can it be stopped though, how do you go about making laws to protect the people in Europe without creating Muslim hatred, there was Jewish hatred before, now there's Muslim hatred, we do not want to create that, we do not want any radicals or people who are violent, how do you filter this out and how do you even word these things so this does not affect freedom of religion, just normal humanitarian rights for everybody?
Dr. Malte Kaufmann: When in 1995 the Schengen treaty was introduced in the Europe Union, that was the treaty that set for the abandonment of the inner European borders, for instance, from Germany to France and Germany to Austria, I was 18 when that happened. I'd just got my driving license and I really enjoyed traveling from one country to another without being controlled, but at that time the politicians promised us that we can do that because we together now control the external borders of the EU, but right now this is not happening, people are influxing, coming into Europe without control on many of the external EU borders. We need to strengthen the EU in this aspect and we need to pull all our forces together and stop people from migrating to Europe.
*Daesh, a terrorist group banned in Russia
The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Malte Kaufmann are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.