German government's anti-terror posters rejected by Muslim groups
COLOGNE, Germany - Four Muslim groups in Germany rejected Friday a controversial poster campaign that urges families to report their children to the authorities if they adopt Islamist ideologies.
The groups said they were pulling out of a security partnership with the Interior Ministry, which had asked mosques to help detect homegrown Islamist terrorism.
Each poster shows a youth with the headline "Missing" with text urging families to contact a government counseling service if a son becomes strangely devout and secretive.
"This is our son. We miss him, because he isn't the same any more. We are scared we'll completely lose him to the religious fanatics and terrorist groups," says the text on one poster.
The faces on the posters are apparently of photographic models of Turkish, Arab, North African or Bosnian extraction.
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, the Federation of Islamic Culture Centers and the Islamic Association of Bosnians in Germany jointly complained.
They said the posters amounted to "collective incrimination" of Germany's estimated 4 million Muslims.
The poster campaign is the brainchild of Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who has had a strained relationship with Muslim leaders.
The government's own anti-discrimination office also has denounced the posters, which are to be hung in shopping malls and on streets from September. It said people of generic Muslim appearance were being shown in a format that suggested a police "wanted poster."
"The message is that every Muslim is a potential terrorist," said Miguel Vicente, an integration ombudsman. "It's insulting."
The four groups also said Friedrich's security partnership had failed to seek constructive solutions and had been dominated by the minister.