Berlin. 16 Safar 1438/16 November 2016 (MINA) – Hundreds of German police have launched coordinated raids in ten of the country’s 16 states hunting for supporters and recruiters of Islamic State among a Salafist group calling itself ‘The True Religion.’
Armed police and elite SEK anti-terror units were involved in the raids on more than 200 apartments and offices belonging to organizers and supporters of the group which publicly backs the aims of ISIS, thesun.co.uk reported.
At the same time as the raids across Germany at 6.30am the government announced that the group was being banned for good.
Salafists believe in a traditional interpretation of Islam, based on Sharia law. They have caused controversy in Germany with a project called ‘Lies!’ to hand out 25 million translations of the Koran for free.
Many of the 800 Germans who went off to the middle east for the so-called Caliphate declared by Isis in Syria and Iraq were Salafists.
One of the places stormed on Tuesday morning was an apartment in a high-rise building in Bonn where the sect’s leader Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, 52, lives.
He was hauled out of bed and off for questioning along with hate preacher Said El Emrani 34, who goes by the name Abu Dujana.
Abou-Nagie has called for worldwide Sharia law to be introduced to replace traditional justice systems.
Fifteen searches were carried out at properties in Frankfurt alone and dozens of boxes of Isis recruiting material and other Jihadist literature seized.
In the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria there were 35 raids while in Lower Saxony searched officials more than 20 properties. In Berlin almost 20 places were stormed, in Baden-Württemberg 15, in Schleswig-Holstein, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg approximately five each.
Search warrants were also issued against a mosque Association in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hamburg.
Glorifying Holy War and terrorist attacks
The authorities said the group is “unconstitutional and against the idea of international understanding.” Its propaganda material along with its cash assets are being seized, said the government.
It says the membership “glorifies Holy War and terrorist attacks as well as building up a unique melting pot for recruitment of Jihadists.” At least 140 members of The True Religion have travelled the to middle east to fight with Isis.
Police raided places in 60 cities in western Germany and also in Berlin seizing documents and files, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. Nobody was detained.
The group also known as “Read!” has been distributing German-language copies of the Quran across the country.
The interior minister said that more than 140 youths had traveled to Syria and Iraq to join fighters there after having participated in the group’s campaigns in Germany.
“The translations of the Quran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies,” de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin. “Teenagers are being radicalized with conspiracy theories.”
Young men in long robes and bushy beards handing out German copies of the Quran has been a common sight in downtown and shopping areas across Germany for several years.
Trying to clamp down hard on radical Islamists
The ban of the group comes a week after security authorities arrested five men who allegedly aided the Islamic State group in Germany by recruiting members and providing financial and logistical help.
The recent operations suggest that the German government is trying to clamp down hard on radical Islamists.
The German interior minister stressed that the ban does not restrict the freedom of religion in Germany or the peaceful practice of Islam in any way, but that the group had glorified terrorism and the fight against the German constitution in videos and meetings.
“We don’t want terrorism in Germany … and we don’t want to export terrorism,” de Maiziere said adding that the ban was also a measure to help protect peaceful Islam in the country.
The Federal Office for the Proetection of the Constitution – the BvF or internal intelligence service – estimates the number of radical Islamist Salafis in Germany at 9200 and continues to rise.
Of these 1,200 are considered capable of terror acts, twenty percent of them are women. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)