JERSEY Daily News

“I strongly condemn the symbols shown by some students”

They call themselves “the constitution students”: a group of young people who are politically active and want to campaign for democracy. You yourself describe it like this: “Democracy doesn’t just happen. It has to be learned and practiced. With our project ‘The Constitutional Students’ we make democracy tangible, inspire young people to participate in politics and accompany them on their way to their own civil society commitment.”

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) met these students and posed for a photo with them. The picture was published by the minister’s office on June 15 on Twitter. Faeser writes that the constitutional students are close to her heart. “It is important that young people get involved in socio-political matters. But young people have to find a way to get involved.” The project creates encounters and role models in order to experience democracy.

Before the photo was published, no one noticed that a student in the last row was giving the wolf salute of Turkish right-wing extremists. The hand sign with two spread fingers symbolizes a wolf and has always been the greeting of the fascists in Turkey. Numerous murders in Turkey are attributed to the Gray Wolves.

Two other students show the “Rabia” sign, which is widespread among Islamists. The greeting originated in Cairo in 2013, when the Egyptian army broke a blockade of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the salute when addressing his supporters in the summer of 2016 after the failed military coup.

Another young person in the photo with the minister poses with the pointing finger, which is common among Salafists, including the “Islamic State”.

Faeser has now responded to the allegations. On Twitter, she writes: “The symbols shown by some students in the picture are unacceptable, I strongly condemn this.” One is talking to the project sponsor about this.

However, the old post is not yet deleted. A user writes: “Such a picture must be deleted. If it stays online, it reinforces extremist narratives. Young people are led to believe that the German interior minister supports right-wing extremists and Islamist actors. They provide extremists with propaganda material.”

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