Last year....up in Wuppertal, a town east of Dusseldorf....they had this unusual episode unfold.
A couple of Muslim guys put on yellow safety vests which had 'Sharia Polizei" on them and walked through the active part of town where people might drink, entertain, or party. There.....these gentlemen (probably never more eight to ten) would try to use gentle persuasion and kind words on Mid-East-looking guys and gals that they assumed were Muslim in nature and encourage them to leave, correct their behavior, or try to encourage them not to drink or use drugs.
I should emphasize......it was always gentle persuasion used. This group was noted by the locals (both Germans and non-Germans) and not exactly received in a friendly fashion. Even some Turks commented that it was not acceptable to take on this 'duty' in a public setting.
Well.....the cops got involved. They arrested a couple of the 'Sharia Polizei' guys and it all went to court. Germans naturally take a fairly long time to reach a case, and a conclusion. Today, it ended. The court (local court mind you) said that the band of merry men were criminally harmless. The prosecution....at least in my prospective.....were not able to show any criminal intent or violation of law.
Even the violation of a ban on uniforms (the safety vests with Sharia-Polizei) didn't work well in the court room.
An appeal? Well....yeah. The prosecution said it would appeal and go the next step up.
The perception by the general public is that the group wearing the vests were simply an outreach program of Salafist networks, and their intention is to intimidate those of the Islamic religion on German streets.....like they do in a dozen-odd countries of the Middle East.
There are three problems in this episode. First, the law on people walking around German city streets and acting as some authority....is virtually non-existent. I could put on a yellow safety vest that said Dog-Patrol, Leprosy Police, or Whore-Patrol....walk in the middle of some city district....and there's probably nothing that anyone can do as I act stupid or try to enforce unwritten laws. Germans are particular.....unwritten law cannot be enforced.
Second, I would take a guess that fifty-percent of German society don't see anything problematic or serious about some guys in yellow vests saying Sharia Polizei. If you asked them about Sharia Law.....they might grin for a moment and just say it's a virtual unwritten code of Muslims and doesn't affect Germans. You might ask why a German with Muslim religion has to face this type of behavior....but that point is a 180-degrees away from their understanding of the situation.
Third, the court action opens the door for more patrols and likely to be seen in other urban areas of Germany. Naturally, some thug-like individuals will adapt a 'anti-Sharia-law-Polizei' slogan for their yellow vests and patrol the same streets. In some ways.....you are simply begging for incidents or conflicts on the streets of Germany. Maybe we will see Lutheran-virtues-Police yellow vests, or Catholics-for-virgins-Police yellow vests, or environmentalists for a green Earth-Police yellow vests.
The one positive? The guys selling yellow vests are probably going to make a ton of money in 2016.