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Tuesday , January 31 2023

Mosque in Germany shut for backing IS

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Dec 18. European Union heads of state met Thursday to discuss, among other issues, the current migration crisis and terrorism. (AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Dec 18. European Union heads of state met Thursday to discuss, among other issues, the current migration crisis and terrorism. (AP)

BERLIN, Dec 18, (Agencies): German authorities Thursday raided, shuttered and banned a Muslim association and mosque they accused of supporting the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria and Iraq. Police in the southwestern city of Stuttgart searched the site and delivered a notice that the centre had been disbanded and its property confiscated, said the interior minister of Baden- Wurttemberg state, Reinhold Gall. “We do not tolerate associations that advocate the use of violence to promote religious concerns and collect donations for terrorist groups,” said Gall, without reporting any arrests.

He charged that radical preachers and fundamentalist Islamists, mainly from western Balkan states, had frequented the Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre Mesdschid Sahabe. Of about 50 people who had travelled to Syria from Baden-Wuerttemberg to join the fighting, at least 10 had been visitors of the mosque, and three of them had since died, he said. The centre had previously been raided in March, when police confiscated computers, data storage devices, smartphones and documents as evidence, said the minister in a statement. “The association supports, in the form of the so-called Islamic State, an Islamist group that carries out religiously- motivated attacks against persons and property,” Gall charged. “Through the association, donations have been collected for terrorist groups and fighters recruited for the conflict in Syria. In addition, the association and its members glorify jihad and religiously motivated terrorism.”

Meanwhile, German authorities say a man suspected of having worked for the Islamic State group has been arrested at a refugee accommodation center. The Dortmund prosecutor’s office said the 31-year-old was arrested in the western town of Unna on Thursday, news agency dpa reported. It stressed that the investigation is at a very early stage. The Bild newspaper had previously reported on the arrest. Without citing sources, it said the man came from Syria and that anti-IS activists from that country had posted pictures of the suspect online. Germany has seen around a million refugees and other migrants arrive this year.

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