Over ten thousand Muslims living in Cologne and all over Germany were expected Saturday to attend an anti Islamic terrorism march, but relatively few showed up in the end. The anti terrorism march in Cologne was organized by a number of prominent Muslim organizations in Germany together with various public figures.
Despite Germany’s significant Muslim population, a much smaller number of Muslims actually participated in the anti-terror event, or the expectations were too high, who knows? However, this is just the beginning according to the march’s organizers, as they’re already planning similar actions in the future.
The peace march took place in the center of Cologne, Germany on Saturday and it was aimed at proving that moderate Muslims are not supporters of radical Islamic extremism and terrorism and it was held under the slogan Not With Us. Among the organizers of the peace march, we must mention the Muslim peace activist Tarek Mohamad and the Islamic scholar Lamya Kaddor, both being prominent figures in Cologne’s Muslim community.
The march was supported by a number of Muslim associations in Germany, the likes of the German Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) . Despite the apparent “official” support, it is quite surprising that not so many Muslims showed up at the rally, with the turnout being much smaller than expected.
Initial reports from German police said that there were between 200 and 300 people joining the march when it started, but more were picked up along the way, with the total number of participants reaching maybe 1000, according to Rheinische Post; yet, judging from the pictures and videos it becomes apparent that many of them were actually regular Germans, but let that go.
The very small number of participants drew the attention of media and German politicians alike. The leader of the German Social Democratic Party in North Rhein Westphalia was quoted as saying:
I find it regrettable that more journalists and police officers arrived today [in central Cologne] than demonstrators,”
— Arafatul Islam (@arafatul) June 17, 2017
Large numbers of riot police in heavy gear were deployed, but the march was peaceful and there were zero incidents reported.
— Islam – Ahmadiyya DE (@AhmadiyyaDE) June 17, 2017
Some of the largest Muslim associations in Germany were criticized for their dubious refusal to support the anti-Islamic terrorism rally, and we’re talking about the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) and the Islamic Council (Islamrat).