Last month, the joint “Media Academy” of Germany’s two public television networks, ARD and ZDF, hosted a three-day seminar in Wiesbaden on the topic of “Islam in the Media and in Society.” As reported in Germany’s Islamische Zeitung, or “Islamic Newspaper,” the final day of the seminar featured presentations by representatives of the Turkish newspaper Zaman and the Islamische Zeitung itself. According to the account in the Islamische Zeitung, the newspaper representatives
…presented their media products and talked with the participating journalists, who posed questions to the two Muslim media professionals….The point of view of the Islamische Zeitung and Zaman was considered with great interest, and thus a constructive exchange between media professionals occurred as otherwise seldom happens.
The founder and publisher of the Islamische Zeitung is one Abu Bakr Rieger, né Andreas Rieger. Until three years ago, the German convert to Islam was a member of the board of directors of the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany. The Islamic Council, or Islamrat, is one of four Muslim umbrella organizations that serve as dialogue partners for the German government in the context of the government-sponsored “German Islam Conference.” In October 2007, Rieger was forced to resign from his position in the Islamic Council after video emerged of him seemingly regretting that the Holocaust had not been “thorough” enough.
The context was a speech given by Rieger in 1993 to Turkish immigrant followers of the late Cemaleddin Kaplan, the so-called “Caliph of Cologne.” The video is here. What Rieger said exactly was this:
…Like the Turks, we Germans have also often fought for a good cause in the past, although I have to admit that my grandfathers were not entirely thorough with our common principal enemy.
Although the existence of the video was already known, Rieger failed to take his distance from the phrase when asked about it by the German public radio Deutschlandfunk in 2004. It was only after the video was posted on the Internet that Rieger told Germany’s Der Spiegel, by way of explanation, “That was a frightful event. I probably wanted to appear radical.” Rieger insisted that he had never been anti-Semitic.
But research conducted by journalists Hildegard Becker and Claudia Dantschke suggest the disingenuous of Rieger’s belated efforts to disown his comments. Becker and Dantschke point in particular to Rieger’s connections to the Scottish born Sheikh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, né Ian Dallas. Herbert Landolin Müller of the domestic intelligence service of the German state of Baden Württemberg has described the abstruse teachings of as-Sufi as follows:
The main work of Sheikh Abdalqadir as-Sufi is basically a form of rejection of parliamentary democracy. In one place, it is said very clearly that he rejects it because it is Jewish. For him, the banks are also Jewish. Paper money is basically part of a grand conspiratorial design. As against the latter, one has to create a gold currency and thereby, in effect, release the world from “Jewish interest”…and the clutches of the banks and the stock markets.
In an article that originally appeared in the now defunct online magazine Sicherheit-Heute [“Security Today”], Becker and Dantschke argue that Rieger is himself a partisan of an as-Sufi-inspired “jihad against the market economy.” A search of the current online archives of the Islamische Zeitung reveals that Sheikh Abdalqadir as-Sufi has been a regular contributor to the paper. His latest article appeared on September 9 of this year.
Whereas Rieger emphasizes the Islamische Zeitung’s explicit rejection of terrorism in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, he is notably ambiguous when it comes to assigning responsibility for the attacks. Thus in an interview with his own paper that appeared on the eve of the 9th anniversary of 9/11 attacks, Rieger explained:
The question of who profited from that senseless attack was also naturally in the air. It is beyond doubt that 9/11 made possible a geopolitical strategy that was disadvantageous for Muslims, but to the advantage of the armaments and oil industries. Nowadays, due to the branding of all justified doubt about the official account of the attack as “conspiracy theory,” it would appear that a rational scientific elucidation of the attack in New York is impossible. Like so many other things, whether one believes the official version or not is nowadays a matter of faith.
The German public television networks ARD and ZDF are financed by taxes on so-called “broadcast reception devices.” Persons who possess only a radio currently pay a “basic tax” of €5.76 per month. Possessors of televisions pay a “full tax” of €17.98 per month. Last month, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that computer-owners without radio or television must also pay the “basic tax,” regardless of whether they use their computers to receive radio or television programming.