A Death Threat in Germany via GodA Death Threat in Germany via God
How do you know when a death threat is a death threat? At issue is a statement posted on the German Web site "Muslim Markt" (Muslim Market) -- a page that sees itself as a clearing house of information for those seeking to live a devout Muslim life amid the permissiveness of Western culture. "If Islam is the way Mr. XXX has repeatedly portrayed it, then let the all-powerful creator destroy all followers of the religion. And if Mr. XXX is a hate preacher and a liar, then let the all-powerful creator punish him along with those -- despite repeated evidence of the spreading of untruths by Mr. XXX -- who continue to believe him." Who is Mr. XXX? Hans-Peter Raddatz, an expert on Islam and the author of a number of Islam-critical books and texts. Indeed, his name was only recently deleted from the posting. And Raddatz is clear about his interpretation of what Muslim Markt wrote: It is, he feels, an obvious death threat. Many others agree. Islamic studies expert Ursula Spuler-Stegemann and the Arab studies expert from the University of Göttingen Tilman Nagel both argue that the formulation clearly puts Raddatz's life in danger. In other words, Raddatz, who is now accompanied by bodyguards everywhere he goes, may be in danger of dying like the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The authors of the post, however, plead innocence. Yavuz Özguz, 42, of Turkish origin but who grew up in Germany, and his brother Gürhan, 46, maintain the site together. Yavuz argues that the passage was taken out of its original context. The German government respectfully disagrees. Not only has Raddatz now filed suit against Yavuz, but the prosecutor general has opened an investigation in the case. It's not the first time. Yavuz has come to their attention in the past for his harsh critiques of Israel, the US and the "anti-Islamic" German society. He is also thought to have contacts with Hamas and Hizbollah.