Police in the German city of Wuppertal are investigating several young men who announced themselves to be “Sharia police”, Russia Today (RT) reports.
According to the report, the group was patrolling the streets, urging people to refrain from various sorts of activities and entertainment.
The young men wearing orange safety vests with the words "Sharia police" written on the back caught both residents' and police attention in Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany earlier this week.
A picture of the so-called “Sharia cops” was posted by a Twitter user:
According to RT, the young men are followers of Salafism, a puritanical form of Islam, one of the world's fastest-growing Islamic movements.
The fundamentalists have been seen in the city's nightlife area, trying to urge people to refrain from alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other activities. They also reportedly distributed leaflets with the same guidelines.
Police reportedly stopped 11 men aged between 19 and 33. An investigation with possible charges of illegal assembly has been launched, the report noted.
The government is considering the Sharia initiative an act of provocation and says it won't tolerate any "parallel law".
"No Sharia laws will be tolerated on German soil. No one has the right to tarnish the good image of the German police," the country's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere reportedly said in an interview to the German magazine Bild.
Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that "no illegal 'parallel law' will be tolerated," as only the state is responsible for law compliance.
"Intimidation or provocation won't be tolerated," Wuppertal Police Chief Birgitta Rademacher said, as cited by Deutsche Welle, adding that only police appointed and employed by the state have the legitimate right to act as police in Germany.
Although the Sharia guidance to refrain from drinking alcohol or taking drugs might not be of any harm in itself, German authorities fear that the Salafists have also been recruiting young men to join the Islamic State and other such groups, encouraging them to travel to Syria or Iraq in order to do so.
This is not the first case of Muslims trying to impose their laws in Europe.
In recent years, Muslims have become dominant in several neighborhoods in London, to the chagrin of the native locals, and there have been reports that fundamentalists have been trying to enforce Sharia law in the neighborhoods.
Hate preacher Anjem Choudary is reportedly behind the “Sharia neighborhoods”, and has said he plans to flood specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the UK and “put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term.”
Choudary is the founder of two Muslim groups in Britain that were banned by the British government after being declared terrorist organizations. He has threatened British Jews who support Israel, stating that it is an “Islamic obligation upon Muslims everywhere to support the Jihad against those who fight Muslims anywhere in the world or who occupy Muslim land.”
Police in London recently began investigating a sign telling pet owners to stay out of an east London park because "Muslims do not like dogs."
The sign was branded "unacceptable" and "provocative" by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick who called in police after being alerted to the sign by a concerned dog walker.