German police raids target Muslim clerics accused of spying for Turkey

Justin Huggler, Berlin 
15 FEBRUARY 2017 • 6:40PM

Police in Germany on Wednesday raided the homes of four Muslim clerics suspected of spying for Turkey.
Heiko Maas, the German justice minister, accused Turkey of using religion as cover for intelligence operations.
Police suspect the four imams used their position to spy on supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the religious leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of being behind last year’s failed coup.
All four men are employees of Ditib, a Turkish government agency that funds mosques and provides imams for the Turkish community in Germany.
The raids come amid claims that Turkey is using Muslim clerics in more than 30 countries around the world as a “global spying network”.
The Cologne Central Mosque run by Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs DITIB, in Cologne, Germany
Last week Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency alleged that as many as 13 imams working for Ditib had sent lists of names of Gülen supporters in the country to the Turkish government.
Although no arrests were made in the raids, they are likely to pile further pressure on relations that are already strained by German concerns over the Turkish crackdown on opponents of Mr Erdogan following the coup attempt.
“Whoever uses Islam as a cover for espionage cannot rely on freedom of religion,” Mr Maas, the justice minister, said.
“If the suspicion that some Ditib imams were spying is confirmed, the organisation must be seen, at least in parts, as a long arm of the Turkish government.”
Ditib, or the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs is a Turkish government agency founded in 1984 to fund mosques for Germany’s Turkish community. An estimated 4 million Turks live in the country.
Historically, imams appointed by Ditib have been viewed as reliable and free from extremism. But the suspicion they are passing names of Gülen supporters to Ankara is seen as troubling in the light of the crackdown on his followers in Turkey.
A prominent Austrian MP this week alleged he has evidence that Turkey is operating a “global spying network” of clerics in 30 different countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Peter Pilz of the Austrian Green party claimed documents from the Turkish embassy in Vienna and consulate in Salzburg proved clerics from the Austrian equivalent of Ditib were sending reports on Gülen supporters to Ankara.
The raids come amid political anger over plans for Binali Yildirim, the Turkish prime minister, to address a rally in Germany in support of a controversial Turkish referendum.
Mr Erdogan is seeking public approval to give himself wide-ranging new executive powers in the referendum, which will be held in April.
Critics say the proposals amount to a dismantling of democratic safeguards.
Turkish citizens living in Germany are allowed to vote in the referendum and Mr Yildirim plans to address a rally of some 10,000 Turks in the town of Oberhausen on Saturday.
German opposition MPs have called for his appearance to be blocked.


This is an excellent example of why President Trump should be allowed to ban immigration from certain Muslim countries.  At the very least people from these countries need extreme vetting before being allowed in.

When you have open borders as some idiots want, God knows who will come here and do God knows what.
The problem with many liberals is that they believe people are basically born good and learn to be bad later.  Almost any psychologist will tell you it' exactly the opposite.  People are born savages and are taught to be either civilized or barbarians.

Civilized behaviour is not an inherited faculty.  If we wiped all civilization out in one generation we'd be right back where we started.

Dan 88!