Calls of “Allahu Akbar” [“God is great”] by young Muslims wearing long gowns and vests outside Cologne’s main rail station culminated on Wednesday in counter-accusations between city police and the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD).
Police chief Uwe Jacob denied that his officers were motivated by racism in detaining 10 young Muslim men aged between 18 and 28 inside the station on Tuesday during a one-hour intervention.
Searches done resulted in a one-handed knife being found and infringement proceedings against one person, according to multiple reports.
ZMD chairman Aiman Mazyek said the men were on their way to celebrations to mark the completion of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan when faced by a “massive” operation by police.
“We condemn the actions of the Cologne police and expect that police officers will be better culturally trained and sensitized and not react in great nervousness to any intended hint from the public about the alleged ‘suspicious’ behavior of people of other appearances,” said Mazyek, adding that apologies were needed.
In Cologne, a city known for its diversity, police should have a minimum of knowledge about “religion-specific things like holidays and tradition,” he added.