In mosques or tearooms, Muslim elders dispense verdicts that keep their communities in line. They mediate between aggrieved immigrants, sometimes at the expense of German justice. Some say the arbitrations ease caseloads in court, but others see the creeping advance of Sharia law.
The men ambushed Fuat S. on the street, then locked him in a basement and tortured him. Fuat was later admitted to the hospital in Berlin's Neukölln district with gaping wounds, contusions and broken bones.
Police took his statement concerning the attack the same night. Fuat S., a gambler and a recipient of "Hartz IV" -- Germany's social welfare benefits for the long-term unemployed -- gave a detailed statement. He'd conned an acquaintance, Mustafa O., out of €150,000 ($217,000) and the man was taking his revenge, Fuat said, together with his three brothers. They hit his hands, arms and knees with a hammer and threatened to shoot him.