Four Muslim groups in Germany rejected on Friday a controversial poster campaign that urges families to report their children to the authorities if they adopt Islamist ideologies.
The groups said they were pulling out of a security partnership with the Interior Ministry, which had asked mosques to help detect home-grown Islamist terrorism.
Each poster shows a youth with the headline “Missing” with text urging families to contact a government counselling service if a son becomes strangely devout and secretive.
“This is our son. We miss him, because he isn’t the same any more. We are scared we’ll completely lose him to the religious fanatics and terrorist groups,” says the text on one poster.
The faces on the posters are apparently of photographic models of Turkish, Arab, North African or Bosnian extraction.
Muslim groups said the posters amounted to “collective incrimination” of Germany’s estimated four million Muslims.
The poster campaign is the brainchild of Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich — who has had a strained relationship with Muslim leaders.
The government’s own anti-discrimination office has also denounced the posters, which are to be hung in shopping malls and on streets from September.
It said people of generic Muslim appearance were being shown in a format that suggested a police “wanted poster”.
“The message is that every Muslim is a potential terrorist,” said Miguel Vicente, an integration ombudsman. “It’s insulting.”