Turkey condemns German raid on Berlin mosque

(Updates with comments from the Turkish President)

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday’s raid in a mosque in German capital Berlin was unacceptable and a show of profanity.

“The sensitivity that should be shown towards the sanctity of places of worship was disregarded in this heinous act,” the ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Riot police entered the mosque while the congregation had gathered for the morning prayers, the ministry said, “and profaned this place of worship,” in an act against “all the Muslim community.”

The raid was an example of discrimination and bias Germany’s five million Muslims face, it said, adding: “German authorities must understand the fact that Muslims are an integral part of Germany and put an end to excluding and marginalizing them.”

According to the office of Berlin’s attorney general, the raid was related to a fraud investigation, where three people were accused of having falsely claimed almost €70,000 ($83,000) in coronavirus subsidies. At least one payment was claimed by an account that belonged to Berlin’s Mevlana Mosque.

German newspaper Bild cited a police source who said the suspects might have been in cooperation. The three suspects’ homes were also searched, and in the six locations the police confiscated a total of € 7,000 ($ 8,300) in cash, along with documents, computers and smart phones.

“The police may search us, but they will not find anything,” a board member at the association that runs the mosque told Bild.

“Our sensibilities and what we hold sacred has been disregarded in the German police raid at the time of morning prayers,” Turkey’s Religious Affairs Director Ali Erbaş said, strongly condemning the “hateful attitude.”

“In Europe in particular, we are witnessing officials support the language of hate produced over a hostility against Islam. This discriminatory and disrespectful treatment of Muslims is unacceptable for any excuse,” Erbaş said in a tweet.

The raid "moved Europe closer to the darkness of the Middle Ages," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday evening, and that it “clearly feeds on racism and hostility against Islam.”

Europe has turned into an entity that fights against its diversity, Erdoğan said, while it had once been known as “the cradle of democracy, human rights and freedoms.”