German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised Muslims on Friday for adhering to the country's lockdown measures during Ramadam, while also calling for an end to the hatred directed towards the religious minority.
In a message on the eve of the end of the month of fasting and reflection, Steinmeier wrote that many Muslims would have found the restrictions particularly difficult. "I would like to thank all of you who adhered to these strict rules and contributed to our first success in the fight against the virus."
Ramadan is seen as a time when Muslims come together, rather than being kept apart, which became necessary due to the lockdown and social distancing measures.
Steinmeier also pledged determined action against religiously motivated attacks. "Hatred and exclusion, violent attacks targeting Muslims, attacks on mosques — we cannot tolerate this, we cannot allow this."
Last year, a total of 871 attacks aimed at Muslims or their institutions took place in Germany and the president said it was everyone's responsibility, including the state to protect Muslims.
Steinmeier recalled the incident on February 19 when a gunman motivated by right-wing and racist ideology killed nine people in two hookah bars the city of Hanau, in western Germany. All of the victims had foreign heritage, including Turkish and Bosnian.
Pamphlets and video material found at the home of the 43-year-old man, who allegedly also murdered his mother before committing suicide, indicated a racist motive behind the onslaught.
Steinmeier said he had been deeply affected by the incident in Hanau, describing it as an attack on peaceful coexistence and on all the values shared by Germans, including dignity, tolerance, diversity and freedom of worship.
jsi/rt (dpa, KNA)