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Germany

Germany Bans Two Islamic Organizations

Germany has banned an Islamic group which raises funds for the radical militant Palestinian group, Hamas, and the publisher of a newspaper with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Interior Minister Otto Schily said the German government was "taking decisive action against any activities which have an extremist or terrorist background." The police raided 60 sites across eight of Germany's 16 regional states to enforce the bans on the two organizations. Yatim Kinderhilfe, which translates as Yatim Children's Relief, was set up in the western German city of Essen from the remnants of another extremist group, the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which was banned in 2002. The E. Xani publishing company, based in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt, produced the Turkish language newspaper Ozgur Politika which had a print run of 10,000 copies. Schily described it as "the mouthpiece" of the PKK, a group fighting for a Kurdish homeland which is considered to be a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, the United States and the European Union. Turkey welcomed the ban on Tuesday. The Turkish foreign ministry said the ban was a "resolute move" by the German government against the PKK and expressed hope that "it would set an example and lead to concrete results in preventing all the activities of the terrorist organization in Germany and across Europe." Turkey has long accused European and neighboring countries of tolerating PKK activities on their soil.

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