The offices of two Islamist groups suspected of trying to turn Germany into an Islamic theocracy have been raided by federal security forces. Authorities said there was no suspected link to terrorist groups.
The groups may be working for an Islamic theocracy
German security officials conducted raids on two alleged Islamist groups in three states on Tuesday, suspecting the groups were involved in anti-constitutional activities.
Authorities searched property belonging to the groups Invitation to Paradise, with offices in Moenchengladbach and Braunschweig, and the Islamic Cultural Center of Bremen, in the city-state on the North Sea coast, as well as the private residences of some members.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that both organizations were suspected of working against constitutional order to establish an Islamic state in Germany, and that the raids had been planned for some time and were "in no way connected to the threat of international terrorism."
The statement also described the groups as "Salafist," an extreme brand of Islamic fundamentalism which the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution says does not strictly condemn the use of violence.
A prominent member of Invitation to Paradise is the convert and boxer-turned-preacher Pierre Vogel, also known as Abu Hamza, who has appeared on talk shows advocating for the introduction of Sharia law in Germany. However he has also condemned the use of terror in the name of Islam.
Federal authorities said the Islamic Cultural Center of Bremen is ideologically and organizationally close to Invitation to Paradise. Vogel and Invitation to Paradise have recently made local headlines after residents of Moenchengladbach and Braunschweig staged protests against the group.
Author: Andrew Bowen (epd, dapd)
Editor: Michael Lawton
The 28-year-old was the club's former U19 coach and will take charge ahead of schedule following Huub Stevens' unexpected resignation. Nagelsmann made a good first impression and believes his side can avoid the drop.
The EU's executive arm is tightening the screws on 'artificially cheap imports' as European steelmakers are feeling the pinch of a global commodity glut that is threatening thousands of jobs throughout the bloc.
Even as the Greek government negotiates over its bailout program, efforts by the EU to stem the flow of refugees look set to dramatically increase the financial cost for Greece. Pavlos Zafiropoulos reports from Athens.