A group of Islamists did not break the law when they formed ‘sharia police’ street patrols, telling people to stop drinking, gambling and listening to music, a German court has ruled.
The Muslim group, formed by German convert Sven Lau, sparked outrage in 2014 when it held patrols in the western city of Wuppertal in 2014.
They wore orange vests bearing the words ‘Sharia Police’.
But prosecutors at the city’s district court could not prove that seven accused members had broken the law.
A ban on political uniforms would only be breached if the outfits worn were ‘suggestively militant or intimidating’ – but court officials ruled they were not threatening, and that one witness thought the men were part of a bachelor party.
The same court had already thrown out the case last year, but was overruled on appeal by a higher court, which agreed with prosecutors that the ban on uniforms could be applied in this case.
Monday’s verdict is not yet final and may still be appealed.
The ‘sharia police’ members walked the streets of Wuppertal in September 2014, telling nightclub-goers to refrain from drinking alcohol and listening to music, and arcade customers not to play games for money.
Lau, the organiser, is one of Germany’s most controversial and best known Islamist preachers.
He is currently on trial in a separate case on charges of backing ‘a terrorist group’ fighting in Syria.
So-called ‘sharia patrols’ by sometimes violent radical young Salafists have also been seen in other European cities such as London, Copenhagen and Hamburg.