Muslim Brotherhood dangerous for social peace - German intelligence

Germany's domestic intelligence agency 2018 report for the North Rhine-Westphalia state said the Muslim Brotherhood was being closely monitored by Germany due to dangers the report said legal, non-violent Islamist groups posed to the country’s democracy, German state-run Deutsche Welle Turkish reported on Wednesday.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution’s (BfV) report said legal Islamist groups were working to control a large portion of the population and called said groups non-violent but extremist.

The report said the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement originally from Egpyt, could transform into a representative for the interests of Muslims in the eyes of the public and the state, and that the group’s religious ideology could potentially spread among Muslims in North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany at large.

According to the BfV, a foreign-based organisation with a political Islamist viewpoint gaining such influence could endanger social peace and harmony.

The report said the Muslim Brotherhood had an agenda in partial conflict with constitutional values, without providing details on this agenda. The report also suggested public awareness and communications campaigns by the agency as an effective precaution against social penetration efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood and other legal Islamist groups.

Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathisers are said to be well educated and to work in respected positions, with good connections in Germany and internationally.

The report said the Muslim Brotherhood had been using the contrast between their own group and violent Islamist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) as a way to suggest themselves as a non-problematic alternative, and had presented themselves as an interlocutor for state officials and non-governmental organisations.

The diversity of cultural backgrounds, theological and ideological leanings, social references and organisation structures among the legal Islamist groups was underlined in the report, which went on to suggest that these variations constituted a wide array from the Muslim Brotherhood to pro-Iranian regime groups, to the Felicity Party (SP) represented in the Turkish parliament, to several political Salafist currents.

According to the BfV report, non-violent legal Islamist groups “make ISIS look innocent” as they are in contact with all sections of society and have the potential to instate their own members at key positions in the future.

The Muslim Brotherhood has an influence over the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), said the report, and the group has no qualms about collaborating with Cologne-based Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB).

DİTİB was founded as a direct branch of Turkey’s governmental Religious Affairs Directorate and continues to train the imams to work in German mosques, providing Ankara with an opportunity to influence religious migrants in the country.

DİTİB has over 900 mosques in Germany, and has been called on by German politicians to cut ties with Turkey. According to the BfV report, over 10 per cent of these mosques are closely monitored by intelligence services.