Mathias Rohe: What can be done against criminal clans?

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Source: Colourbox.deHeiko Kueverling

The debate on how to deal with criminal clans that are up to mischief in Germanys main cities and because of whom certain quarters have dwindled to so-called “No-Go-Areas”, is not new. Internal security has also been one of the main campaign issues in the state legislature elections of the German federal state North Rhine-Westphalia. In conversation with the broadcaster WDR, Islamic scholar and lawyer Mathias Rohe explains how the state can react to the threat of criminal clans.

First of all, Rohe makes clear that the clans consisted mainly of a certain Arabic family group: The Mhallamiye families, most of whom have immigrated to Germany about 30 years ago. Some of those families practiced an archaic “tribal structure” – State authorities were not accepted, but loyalty to the clan was the utmost priority. According to Rohe, parts of those families were full-time criminals who made their money in prostitution or gambling. A couple of thousand members of the Mhallamiye families lived in North Rhine Westphalia, Rohe states. Among other cities, they could be found predominantly in Dortmund and Essen. And even though it would exaggerated to state that they controlled whole quarters, they were nevertheless “quite present in certain streets”.

To fight the clan structures, the legal scholar Rohe presents a double-tracked strategy. On the one hand, the non-criminal family members had to be empowered and programs for escapists from the criminal structures had to be established. It was especially important to open the doors with regard to educational offers. On the other hand, the state had to take drastic measures against criminal family parts: It had to crackdown on violence, criminality and neglect, Rohe said. He believes that with the help of this dual strategy, the state can effectively fight criminal family clans in Germany.