Thu | Apr 19, 2018

Germany bans Islamic organisation, police search 190 sites

Published:Wednesday | November 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The German government announced yesterday it had banned an Islamic group, the 'True Religion', which is suspected of targeting teenagers to radicalise to fight in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, police raided about 190 offices, storehouses, mosques and apartments of members and supporters.

In searches in 60 cities in western Germany and in Berlin, police seized documents, hard drives, smartphones and weapons, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. Nobody was detained.

The group also known as 'Read!' has been distributing German-language copies of the Koran across the country. The interior minister said that more than 140 youth had travelled to Syria and Iraq to join fighters there after having participated in the group's campaigns in Germany.

"The translations of the Koran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies," de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin. "Teenagers are being radicalised with conspiracy theories."

Young men in long robes and bushy beards handing out German copies of the Quran have been a common sight in downtown and shopping areas across Germany for several years.

Security officials said that the group had about 500 members. In a warehouse near the western city of Cologne, authorities seized about 21,000 German-language copies of the Koran.