Raids targeting Islamist preachers accused of backing Islamic State and recruiting fighters for the terrorist group were carried out in German cities yesterday. Die Welt reports the raids targeted three active Salafist preachers who are said to give religious instruction and private tuition in mosques and private homes. Investigators disclosed that a number of radicalised Islamists are said to have been influenced by the men’s teachings.
Over 150 police were involved in the coordinated searches, which took
place in cities across Western Germany. The three suspects detained
following the operation are suspected of giving both financial and
logistical support to Islamic State, and enlisting fighters for the
One of the preachers arrested, Hasan C., reportedly gave private
tuition in Quranic doctrine and the Arabic language in the premises of
the Turkish travel agency he owns. Among those who visited were two
Islamic State-backing youths who bombed a Sikh temple in April.
Also among those arrested was Iraqi-born preacher Ahmad Abdulaziz A.,
whose Hildesheim mosque is said to be a jihadi hotspot. More than 26
people from the community are known to have gone to fight with Islamic
State in Syria, and the mosque is notorious for preaching hatred against
In Dortmund, police arrested an Islamic convert who they described as
a “highly conspirative person”. Boban S. is thought to have distributed
videos and publications linked to Islamic State through a smartphone
app. The native Serb also gives private religious lessons.
Ralf Jäger, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “The
goal was to go after Islamist supporters who agitate, recruit and
radicalise. Whoever thinks they can agitate here unchallenged and
recruit young men for armed struggle in Syria … is mistaken.”
German Federal and Criminal Police (BKA) documents last month revealed
that there are 45,120 Islamists living in Germany. Of these, 1,100 have
been identified by police as members of the country’s “terrorist scene”
and another 499 classified as “troublemakers”.