Sep 22 2018

German intelligence considers putting Turkish-Islamic group under surveillance

Germany's domestic intelligence agency is deciding whether to put under surveillance the country's largest Islamic umbrella group tied to the Turkish government's Directorate of Religious Affairs, Deutsche Welle reported on Friday. 

The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has sent a confidential dossier to Germany's 16 states on the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), asking for material and comments to establish whether DITIB's activities meet strict requirements to put it under observation, DW said.

DITIB runs in Germany a network of around 900 mosques and 800,000 members and employs imams trained in Turkey, who are classified as civil servants in Germany. 

In 2017, Germany launched an investigation of imams with DITIB who allegedly spied on devotees of Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric accused by the Turkish government of being behind the country's failed coup in 2016. The case was later dropped due to lack of evidence.

DITIB confirmed on Tuesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will officially open a new central mosque in the western German city of Cologne, at the end of his state visit to Germany, which is scheduled to take place on September 28 and 29.