Although politicians of all stripes repeatedly emphasize that they want to limit the influence of Islamist associations in Europe, funding practice shows the opposite: in the German capital Berlin alone, over 80,000 euros have flowed to a Muslim association this year alone, where, according to security organs, the majority of the members is classified as extremist.
This is the “Council of Imams”, an association that received tax money to coordinate a project on intra-Muslim dialogue by the Berlin government. Research showed that numerous council members belong to mosques that have currently or in the past been assessed as Islamist by the authorities. There is also a convicted criminal among them. And there are connections to associations that are close to the Islamist Hamas.
In 2022, the association of these questionable imams received 51,000 euros from the Berlin Senate, and this year again 80,152 euros for a new project “Muslimische DiaLogen”. According to the Senate Cultural Administration, the project involves “the voluntary cooperation” of the Council of Berlin Imams.
The Senate’s funding criteria state that “organizations where there are indications of extremist efforts” are not allowed to be involved in the initiative to be funded. But now the members of the council include, for example, the owner of an Islamic funeral home, who sold passports of the dead to smugglers 10 years ago. He was legally sentenced to a suspended sentence of one year and six months. At that time, three cases of “smuggling in foreigners in conjunction with the misuse of identification documents” were proven.
The imam of the Berlin Teiba Mosque is also represented on the council. This is mentioned in the annual report of the Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to security authorities, the extremist imam also took part in the annual meeting of the Islamic Community in Germany, the most important and central organization of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Germany. As an Islamist, the imam also gives Islamic lessons at the Islamic Cultural and Educational Center (IKEZ), which, according to the Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution, is a “Berlin meeting place for Hamas supporters”. The week before last, the cleric posted a video in which he compared Hamas’ incursion to Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s war of aggression. The “Neukölln Meeting Place” is just as close to the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip. Their speaker appeared several times as a guest speaker at the Palestinian Community of Germany (PGD), a Hamas arm in Germany. They, of course, reject the accusation of being an offshoot of Hamas.
The Furkan Mosque is also part of the Imam Council. The Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution says that the mosque is Salafi-oriented. Externally, the mosque “strives to present a moderate image”, but in sermons it calls for “the separation of Muslims from the rest of (German) society, which is perceived as unbelieving.” Regarding the “infidels” we speak of the “enemies of Allah”. The head of the mosque is also the managing director of the Muslim pastoral care hotline of Islamic Relief Germany (IRD). The German government announced in 2019 that there were “significant personal connections” between the IRD and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Several Islamism experts sharply criticize the allocation of money. “Islamists, like other extremists, are not allowed to receive state funding,” said CDU member of the Bundestag Christoph de Vries. “Highly problematic organizations continue to receive financial support, while liberal Muslims and institutions critical of Islamism receive no or only insufficient support.”
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