Tuesday’s raids on almost 200 mosques, offices homes and warehouses across Germany came after Angela Merkel’s government announced a ban on one of the country’s best known Islamic organisations, True Religion.
Thomas de Maiziere, the interior minister, accused the group of radicalising young Germans and recruiting volunteers to fight for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and similar groups.
What is the True Religion organisation?
True Religion is an Islamic proselytizing organisation. It’s one of the most instantly recognisable Muslim groups in the country, largely because of its Read! Campaign, in which volunteers stop passers by on the streets and hand out English translations of the Koran.
Is the organisation a terror front?
True Religion has not been accused of any links to terrorism on German or European soil.
What it has been accused of is deliberately setting out to radicalise young people and encouraging them to travel to Syria and Iraq to join Isil and other jihadist groups.
As many as 140 youths have left for the Middle East to join the extremists after becoming involved with True Religion, according to the interior minister.
As Mr de Maiziere put it: “We don’t want terrorism in Germany, and we don’t want to export terrorism.”
Does the group have any links to the influx of asylum-seekers to Germany?
True Religion was active in Germany ten years before Mrs Merkel’s “open-door” refugee policy.
The ban on the group is concerned with the flow of people in the other direction: young Germans travelling to the Middle East to become jihadists.
Where does the organisation come from?
True Religion was founded by Ibrahim Abou Nagie, a Palestinian-born preacher, in 2005.
Mr Abou Nagie is a refugee: he was born in the Gaza Strip in 1964 and came to Germany in 1982 as an 18-year-old.
He claims to have started a successful business in Germany and made millions, becoming a citizen in 1994, though some doubt has been cast on this biography.
He says he changed course after a religious awakening in 2003 and became a preacher.
What does True Religion preach?
The organisation propagates a fundamentalist Sunni Islam of the Salafi school.
Salafists advocate a return to the “true” Islam of the time of the propeht Mohammed and his immediate successors.
The movement has ideological links with the Wahhabi Islam followed by Isil and Al-Qaeda.
Is True Religion openly anti-Western?
Mr Abou-Nagie is on record preaching against democracy and Western values.
“Democracy is against Islam. And it is is the opposite of Islam,” he says in a True Religion video.
He is also on record saying: “If some one is married and commits adultery, he must be stoned. These are the laws of God.”
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