A German court ruled Monday seven members of a vigilante “sharia police” did not break the law when they patrolled the streets and ordered people to stop drinking, gambling and listening to music.
The Salafist group led by one of Germany’s most prominent Muslim preachers, Sven Lau, caused public outcry by going on vigilante patrols in the city of Wuppertal in 2014. Prosecutors have struggled to build a case against the group despite a law originally aimed at Nazis, which prohibits street movements in political uniforms.
The group patrolled in orange vests with “Sharia police” printed on the back. The judges said the uniforms weren’t “suggestively militant” or had an “intimidating effect,” citing an eye witness who confused the group for a bachelor party.
The verdict is not final and can be appealed.
A waitress in Nice, France, filed a criminal complaint in June after allegedly getting assaulted by two men because she refused to stop serving alcohol during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Other sharia patrols have been reported in major European cities such as Hamburg, London and Copenhagen.
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