Germany bans conservative Islamic group

Berlin, Nov 15 (IANS) The German government has banned a prominent conservative Islamic group and raided some 190 sites in connection with it across 10 federal states.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Monday ordered the prohibition of The True Religion group — which abides by the ultra-conservative Salafist school of Sunni Islam — on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and that some members were suspected of having links to the Islamic State terror (IS) group, Efe news reported.

A statement released by the Interior Ministry said that “at least 140 young people who had been involved in the organisation had later travelled to Iraq and Syria”.

It added that The True Religion group supported totalitarian ideologies, defended armed jihad and undertook jihadi recruitment drives for people wishing to travel to Iraq and Syria.

Hundreds of police agents were mobilised to raid some 190 houses, offices and Islamic centres including mosques, in connection with Salafist group in such regions as Berlin, Bavaria, Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony.

The True Religion movement is led by Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, a Palestine-born preacher who became well known in parts of Germany for handing out free copies of the Koran in some of the country’s major cities.

German intelligence services estimated that the country was home to around 9,200 followers of radical Islam — 1,200 of whom were considered potentially dangerous and capable of committing attacks in the name of religion.

Further, it was estimated by officials that around 870 people had left Germany to travel to Syria and Iraq in order to join the ranks of the IS.