April 1, 2023

Berlin – Sorrow, solidarity and shock are among the many sentiments being expressed in Germany because the nation involves phrases with a mass taking pictures during which seven individuals died at a Jehovah’s Witness place of worship in Hamburg.

A number of different individuals stay in a crucial situation after a gunman fired a semiautomatic pistol into the worship corridor at roughly 9pm native time on Thursday.

Authorities recognized the perpetrator as Philipp F, a 35-year-old former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses neighborhood who reportedly left the group about 18 months in the past on unhealthy phrases. After the shootings, the gunman died when he turned the gun on himself.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher described the information as “shattering” whereas German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated on the web site of the assault that he was left “speechless” by the incident.

Outdoors of Hamburg, individuals throughout Germany had been shocked and saddened by the information.

Osman Oers is a founding member and imam on the Home of One, a religion heart at the moment being constructed within the German capital of Berlin that can turn into a shared spiritual web site between Jewish, Muslim and Christian religion teams.

“All of us on the Home of One remorse all of the deaths at Jehovah’s Witness neighborhood in Hamburg,” Oers advised Al Jazeera. “We – Jews, Christians and Muslims within the Home of One – really feel for them and embrace them in our prayers. I want the bereaved households and all those that needed to witness this horrible occasion a lot energy and persistence to beat this horror.”

Daniel Egbe, a chemistry professor, stated that the mass taking pictures was “a surprising occasion for Germany”.

“My preliminary assumption was that this was a racially motivated assault, which Germany has sadly skilled many occasions earlier than, so I used to be deeply shocked once I heard that it was inside a spiritual neighborhood,” stated Egbe, who can be the founding father of the migrant -focused group African Community for Photo voltaic Power in Halle, central-eastern Germany.

flowers and candles
Flowers and candles are pictured on the scene the place a number of individuals had been killed in a church taking pictures in Hamburg, northern Germany [File: Axel Heimken/AFP]

Rising requires higher gun possession measures

In keeping with media reviews, authorities had given Philipp F the all-clear final month after they had been anonymously tipped off that he was exhibiting disturbing habits and carried sick emotions towards the neighborhood. After police carried out an unannounced verify on his residence on February 7, they discovered no indicators of psychological sickness and allowed him to maintain his gun after being happy that it was correctly saved.

In Germany, it’s authorized for individuals aged 18 or over with no legal historical past to acquire a allow to personal a gun in the event that they meet sure authorized necessities. Official figures present that there are greater than 940,000 registered non-public gun house owners in Germany, lots of whom are sport shooters or hunters.

The most recent taking pictures has elevated stress on the federal government to do stronger background checks and tighten measures round gun possession, a difficulty which was already on the agenda following a sequence of incidents involving weapons in the previous few years.

In December, unlawful firearms had been among the many weapons discovered throughout raids carried out on members of a far-right group suspected of trying to overthrow the German authorities.

Two years earlier, in February 2020, a far-right extremist killed 10 non-white Germans and wounded 5 others within the central metropolis of Hanau, in what is taken into account one of many worst racially motivated assaults within the nation lately.

The occasions in Hanau adopted the deaths of two individuals at a synagogue in Halle who had been shot by a far-right extremist on the Jewish vacation of Yom Kippur. That very same yr, politician Walter Luebcke was shot at point-blank vary outdoors his residence in central Germany by a person with far-right hyperlinks who has since been jailed for all times.

Extra must be finished

Within the wake of this newest occasion of gun violence, some consider extra must be finished to deal with gun possession in Germany.

Nataly Jung-Hwa Han, chairwoman of Korea Verband, a Korea-German intercultural group based mostly in Berlin, advised Al Jazeera that Thursday’s tragedy was not one thing that you’d count on to occur within the nation.

“The information took me abruptly as we’re used to listening to shootings like this taking place within the US, not in Germany,” she stated. ,However the incident exhibits that there’s nonetheless a difficulty round weapons being misused within the nation and I do not perceive why extra is not being finished to cease the weapons falling into the flawed palms.

“The federal government should work tougher to manage gun possession within the nation and to guard harmless lives from being misplaced by gun violence,” she added.

For Egbe, the chemistry professor, extra restrictions should be put in place to watch gun house owners.

“The psychological stability of a possible gun proprietor must be examined as we do not wish to get into the scenario that we witness taking place so typically in America,” he stated.

For Oers, the imam in Berlin, the incident has additionally additional highlighted the dangers dealing with spiritual communities.

“The rampage in Hamburg has shaken us all very a lot. The assault illustrates as soon as once more that extra consideration should be paid to the safety and safety of non secular communities in Europe. Consciousness of this should even be raised,” he stated.

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