We all know that Islam is a Religion of Peace and that those who think otherwise are misunderstanders of the religion. It is a shame that misunderstanding Islam leads people to commit such violent and reckless acts. One would think that would put a premium on understanding it properly, such that every mosque everywhere would have material designed to help people avoid misunderstanding this most blisteringly complex and hard-to-understand of religions. But they do not. Isn’t that odd?
UPDATE: The trial of four Salafists accused of a failed bomb attack at Bonn’s main train station began with an hour’s delay on Monday after defence lawyers accused the authorities of bias.
The Salafists on trial at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (OLG), who believe in a strict form of Sunni Islam, are accused of planning the attempted bombing in December 2012. The suspected bomber, Marco G. (27), is accused of having placed the pipe bomb in a sports bag and left it on platform number one at the station.
Police were alerted by passengers to the abandoned luggage and found the device inside. Although the timed detonator had triggered, a fault meant that the bomb itself did not explode.
“He wanted to insidiously kill an indeterminate number of people, using highly dangerous means and with base motives,” prosecutor Horst Salzmann told the packed, high-security courtroom.
Marco’s alleged accomplices Enea B. (44), formerly a member of an Albanian anti-terror police unit, Koray D. (25) and Tayfun S. (24), both of Turkish origin, are also in the dock. With Marco, they are also accused of having planned a separate attack against the leaders of anti-Islamic party Pro NRW.
The alleged bomber himself risks being condemned to life imprisonment on charges of attempted murder, while all four face charges of forming a terror group, conspiracy to murder and possession of weapons, which carry terms of up to 15 years.
Tagesspiegel reported that Marco will be represented by Mutlu Günal, a defence lawyer well-known for his involvement in terrorism cases, who has been the target of personal attacks by Pro NRW. His attempt to bring a charge of bias against the court was rejected by the judges.
Police searched fruitlessly for the bomber for months using images collected from CCTV cameras at the Bonn station, but had a breakthrough when DNA traces were found on parts of the bomb.
The DNA turned out to belong to the wife and two-year-old son of Marco G., who was already in custody after being arrested while spying on the house of Pro NRW chairman Markus Beisicht.
After his arrest, investigators found two pistols and a supply of ammonium nitrate, which was also found in the Bonn pipe bomb, at his home.
Düsseldorf police expect both Salafist and Pro NRW supporters to demonstrate outside the courtroom and attempt to enter the public gallery. Tensions are already running high due to the appearance last week of “Sharia police” in nearby Wuppertal.
The trial is expected to take up to two years with 150 witnesses and 55 hearings scheduled.