German court fines 7 men who claimed to be ‘Sharia police’

Two defendants of a self-styled ‘Sharia police’ arrive in a courtroom in Wuppertal, Germany. (Henning Kaiser/DPA via AP)
Updated 27 May 2019

German court fines 7 men who claimed to be ‘Sharia police’

FRANKFURT: A German court on Monday ordered seven extremist fundamentalists to pay fines over a so-called “sharia police” patrol they launched in 2014 to mass media and political outrage.
The men aged between 27 and 37 must pay between 300 and 1,800 euros ($336-$2,015) for infringing laws against wearing uniforms, the Wuppertal tribunal found.
Germany’s laws against wearing uniforms originally aimed to prevent neo-Nazis staging rallies and parades.
Judges said the group’s actions were aimed at achieving an “intimidating effect suggestive of militancy” by aping the sharia police that exist in some Middle Eastern countries as violent organizations.
In September 2014, the seven patrolled the streets of Wuppertal, a west German industrial town with a sizeable Muslim population, wearing orange high-visibility vests marked “Sharia Police.”
When they encountered young Muslims, they told them not to drink alcohol or visit cafes, betting shops or brothels.
Monday’s verdict comes at the end of a second trial for the group after the constitutional court last year overturned their 2016 acquittal.
At the time of the “sharia police” patrol, the men were led by one of Germany’s best-known fundamentalist preachers, Sven Lau, a 38-year-old convert to Islam.
He was himself sentenced in 2017 to a five-year jail term in a separate case, after being found guilty of “supporting a terrorist organization” by recruiting potential militants to travel to Syria.


Australia plans to censor extremist online content

Updated 26 August 2019

Australia plans to censor extremist online content

  • The country will create a 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center for monitoring and censorship
  • Australia earlier set up a task force with tech giants to address spread of extremist material online

SYDNEY: Australia plans to block websites to stop the spread of extreme content during “crisis events,” the country’s prime minister has said.
Speaking from the G7 in Biarritz Sunday, Scott Morrison said the measures were needed in response to the deadly attack on two New Zealand mosques in March.
The live-streamed murder of 51 worshippers “demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content,” he said in a statement.
“That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia, and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.”
Under the measures, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner would work with companies to restrict access to domains propagating terrorist material.
A new 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center will be tasked with monitoring terror-related incidents and extremely violent events for censorship.
In the wake of the Christchurch attack, Australia set up a task force with global tech giants like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter to address the spread of extremist material online.
It is not yet clear how the measures will be enforced. Morrison has previously suggested that legislation may come if technology companies do not cooperate.