German police investigate xenophobic motive after unknown suspects attack mosque in Dresden.
BERLIN (AA) – A bomb attack targeting a mosque in Dresden late Monday was caused by a homemade explosive, German police said on Tuesday.
Police President Horst Kretschmar said initial investigation showed that suspects used a homemade explosive, which caused heavy damage to the door of the mosque.
“While nobody [has] claimed responsibility for the attack so far, we should assume that there is a xenophobia-motive here,” he told a press a conference in Dresden.
The imam, his wife and two children were at the mosque at the time of the attack, which they survived unharmed.
Following talks with Turkey’s Consul General Ahmet Basar Sen, who visited the scene on Monday night, Kretschmar said they decided to step up security around mosques in Dresden.
The largest union of Turkish community in Germany, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), strongly condemned the attack on the mosque, which is run by the union.
“In view of the growing number of attacks targeting mosques recently, we would like to express once again that we are against all forms of violence and attacks against prayer houses, and we are condemning all acts that are threatening social coexistence,” the union said in a press release on Tuesday.
DITIB called on German authorities to take all measures to ensure security of the mosques.
“We hope that the German security agencies would bring the suspects to justice as soon as possible and [that] such heinous acts would not happen again,” it said.
Germany’s Muslim organizations have reported increased number of attacks targeting mosques in recent months, many of them including incidents such as writing neo-Nazi or anti-Islam slogans on the walls of the mosques, leaving pig’s head at the mosque complex, or arson attacks with Molotov cocktails.
Monday’s attack in Dresden with a homemade explosive exacerbated growing concerns over a far-right threat in Germany. Dresden, the capital of the state of Saxony, has been the stronghold of the anti-Islam and anti-refugee movement PEGIDA.
Police President Horst Kretschmar said suspects behind the mosque attack are likely to be responsible for another bomb attack in Dresden late Monday, which targeted the International Congress Center.
German President Joachim Gauck is scheduled to attend a celebration at the center next week to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the German reunification.
Kretschmar said police would step up presence in Dresden’s streets following the bomb attacks on Monday night.
Germany has witnessed growing anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years, triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties that have exploited the refugee crisis, fears of religious extremism, and terrorist groups.
Europe's largest economy accepted more than one million refugees last year; most of them were Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans.
© Anadolu Agency