Australia may be dealing with its “Muslim question” through the fearless deployment of publicly-funded stand up comedy lessons, Rumi poetry readings, and fashion parades but the Germans take their fight against terror an entirely new level of seriousness.
As the Foreign Policy blog reports:
Created by the interior ministry of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the comic book features an adolescent German hero, Andi. Andi’s frustrated Muslim friend Murat, a German resident of Turkish heritage, can’t find an apprenticeship and blames his difficulties on xenophobia. Murat starts to become brainwashed by Harun, a Muslim youth who takes Murat to meet a radical sheikh who shows them extremist Web sites.
The story has a happy ending after Murat finally comes to his senses when his sister Ayshe—a modern, head-scarf-wearing, Muslim girl who staunchly believes in liberal democracy—is threatened by Harun.
There is even a cameo appearance from the minister responsible for the booklet on the second page. “Already in Andi’s first adventure, extremists try to seduce kids like you with their propaganda,” the interior minister says.
Obviously, it’s not pitched at this sort of internet radical who has been hardened by years of living in his mummy’s basement fighting battles in the blogosphere, but would it work to dissuade adolescents from following radical sheikhs and their extremist web sites? I don’t know but I suspect the cheesy story line wouldn’t win too many adolescent “hearts and minds”.