In summer of 2014, the Imam Abu Bilal Ismail (Abdallah) gave a hate sermon in the popular Salafist Al-Nur mosque which made headlines and afterwards he was charged with sedition. I attended the trial against him in Berlin Amtsgericht Tiergarten.(h/t Gastwirt)
“Oh, Allah, destroy the Zionist Jews...Count them and kill them to the very last one. Don’t spare a single one of them. Make them suffer terribly,” Abdallah said in his homily that the media service MEMRI translated into English.
I am 28 years old, a native Israeli who grew up in Herzliya, and I came to Germany to use my knowledge of German, which I had acquired in the master's program, for work. As a devout Jew I wear a kippah every day. ..
Unfortunately, on the streets of Neukölln and Kreuzberg also because of the kippah and because I am thus recognizable as a Jew, I have been physically assaulted.
Once I was told by an Arab immigrant blocking my passage on an escalator on the ground "I will allow fucking Jews" to pass. This resulted in a small "slugfest".
Two months ago I was insulted and spat upon by four Arab refugees in the subway. Nobody intervened.
So I know what risks I take in Berlin today with a kippah on my head. Still, it's natural for me, to wear one every day, especially during a court case against a glowering anti-Semite.
I sat in the visitors' section. After a few minutes I saw four bearded men enter the room. When they saw my kippah, they tok their places right behind me. I had a bad feeling and instinctively slid slightly to the left. In the next few minutes the room fills with more and more bearded Muslims.
Intuitively, I know that the four behind me are staring at me and I turn around. Prompt reaction: One of the young men, wearing a blue T-shirt, whispered to me with a grin in Arabic: "Hazir Yahudi." Jewish pig.
In my mind, alarm bells: did he really just say that to me?
I think to myself: OK, just ignore it. But I cant stop myself as I hiss back: "Shut up, you terrorist!"
The Salafists then break into laughter and talk in Arabic about my anger.
Then: I hear the words Yahudi (Jew), katal (kill) and bahutz (outdoors) being whispered. My throat constricted. "What shall I do now?" I wonder.
I'm alone. In a room full of Salafists who insult me. I feel massively threatened, so I decide to get up and tell the judge's bench, what happened here right before her eyes.
I say: "These men have insulted me as a Jewish pig and threatened me. It's a shame to let the process continue under these circumstances." The chambers are shocked. The security guard asks for calm but they refuse to leave the room.
My thoughts race: Should I just go? No, I can not just leave the field to them!
It is 13.00 clock. The judge read out the hate speech of the Imam in German. ...Antisemitic stereotypes are provided as examples. Jews were "criminals" "murderers of the prophets", "killing children", "spreading corruption, fear and terror", "operate world conspiracy", "support fornication".
The defense attorney argued that the Imam's sermon should be understood only as a criticism of Israel.
As I sit and write down my notes, I notice that one of the men behind me trying to decipher my transcript. I urge him to keep his distance because he throws me the words Kus-Emek and Kus-ochten to me. These Arabic words are basically obscene insults against one's family. Something like "Your mother's a cunt".
And then a kick to the bench on which I sit. I turn around and look into their eyes. Another kick, this time stronger.
This is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
I can not stand it any more, I grab my stuff as fast as I can, and rush out of the room. Away from the Salafists, to the police who are in front of the hall. I ask if I can get a seat in the main hall, or at least a seat between the judicial staff and the attending journalists, so that I can attend the trial. I am told "If you are scared, go to the police." I am denied an escort and a protected seat, therefore I move away and miss the verdict.
Imam Ismail Abdullah was sentenced to a fine of only 1,000 euros for sedition.
The judge ended the session by saying: "Ten percent of the sermon was calling for hatred and discord, which is enough to damage the coexistence between the Muslim and non-Muslim population in Germany."
The hate preachers have lost the lawsuit.
What scares me is the feeling that the Salafists have really won. They have driven me out and no one intervened. I wonder again why I as a Jew can not do the same things in security as a non-Jew.
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