This morning at 6 a.m., more than 100 police forces began a major operation at the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH) in the “Blue Mosque”. Where Hamburg is most beautiful, it also seems to be the most cosmopolitan. In the middle of the magnificent villas on the Outer Alster, postal address Schöne Aussicht 36, stands one of the oldest German mosques. Magnificent minarets and a sky-blue dome, the prayer room contains the largest round carpet in the world, made up of an estimated 80 million knots. Tourism websites hail this as a “little piece of the Orient in the heart of Hamburg”. A visit is definitely recommended. However, an additional warning would be appropriate.
For example, this mosque, once built by Iranian merchants, and its sponsoring association, the “Islamic Center Hamburg”, or IZH for short, are considered Iran’s central outpost in Germany. The federal government classified it as “one of its most important propaganda centers in Europe” in 2018, and the Green Party leader Omid Nouripour, who was born in Tehran, calls it the regime’s “most important espionage nest in Germany.”
On the other hand, the security authorities are investigating the suspicion that the IZH supports the activities of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is banned in Germany and currently interfering in the war between Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist militia Hamas. The other associations searched are suspected to be sub-organizations of the IZH. A total of 54 properties in Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia were searched. According to interior authorities, 31 search and seizure orders were executed in Hamburg alone. A total of around 300 emergency services were involved.
“The nationwide raids, with a focus on Hamburg, are a hard blow against the IZH, whose time has clearly run out,” said Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD). “The faster the IZH as a whole disappears from Hamburg, the better. Today we are a lot closer to that.” He is very happy that the Federal Ministry of the Interior is pursuing the ban procedure very purposefully and assumes that the IZH will be closed soon.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin is in charge of the campaign and is conducting “an investigation under association law” against the IZH and five other associations. On the one hand, there is the suspicion that the IZH is directed against the constitutional order and against the idea of international understanding and should therefore be banned. Hamburg’s politicians have been calling for a closure for a long time, but according to the interior authority, this would have to be initiated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. And this process finally seems to be getting rolling.
“Especially now, at a time when many Jews feel particularly threatened, the following applies: We generally do not tolerate Islamist propaganda or anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement,” said Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) about the raid. “The suspicions against the ‘Islamic Center Hamburg’ are serious. It has been observed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution for a long time and classified as Islamist.”
A ban on the IZH is now probably imminent, you just have to look at the list of those who have just called for this in the Bundestag: Friedrich Merz is one of them, as is the FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr. And Hamburg’s first mayor, Peter Tschentscher, has also stated that he is also very much in favor of it. But the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for issuing such bans, has a lot to do right now. After all, the list of those who were allowed to get away with too much for too long is long.
Unfortunately, it was the massacres in Israel that now led to the end of the IZH. The question remains why all warnings and demands could remain unheard for so long. Once it was religious dialogue, then foreign policy consideration was added. There was always a reason to leave the Iranian outpost untouched. In Hamburg the focus was on religious dialogue, in Berlin it was about big things: preventing Iran from resuming its nuclear program and, again and again, about getting imprisoned German citizens out of prison under a pretext. The Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution wrote the first reports about the IZH in 1994. A simple leafing through while visiting the mosque revealed a lot. Pamphlets like “Family in Islam” were lying there quite openly. Homosexuality and adultery are “diseases of modernity”. In the chapter “Obedience or Slavery” it is said that the woman must not forget to ask the man’s permission before leaving the house.
Buses from Hamburg made their way to the annual “Al-Quds” demonstrations in Berlin, which call for the destruction of Israel. The IZH is said to have planned and paid for trips – allegedly for a total of 90 participants in 2012. That was the year in which the IZH moved into Hamburg City Hall. The CDU government was the first federal state to negotiate a state treaty with the Islamic associations; it was also about helping to organize religious education. One of the partners was the “Schura” and its member was the IZH. The new first mayor, his name was Olaf Scholz, signed the paper. The IZH later left Schura and thus forestalled its expulsion. Shortly afterwards, the Hamburg authorities expelled the deputy head of the IZH. The reason was its proximity to the terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is closely allied with the mullahs’ regime. After the man failed in his appeal to the Higher Administrative Court, he left Germany for Iran. He is not allowed to re-enter the country.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior must now have the numerous computers, cell phones, data storage devices and documents that were confiscated during the nationwide raid evaluated. And then decide whether the evidence is enough to close the Blue Mosque on the Outer Alster.
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