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Germany

Police Raid Islamic School in Frankfurt

Authorities raided the Islamic school of a Morccan cultural association in Frankfurt on Sunday, searching for violent and degrading videos, including one allegedly showing a person being decapitated.

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Police kept an eye on the mosque on Monday

Police and officials from Frankfurt's office of municipal authority raided a Moroccan school for Koran studies near the city's downtown train station in search of extremist propaganda used for inciting children to hatred. According to the state prosecutor's office on Monday, the officials were looking for material such as videos, DVD's and publications which showed violent and degrading images.

Moschee in Frankfurt durchsucht Fotograf

A journalists photographs a raided closet in one of the mosque's classrooms

Lead prosecutor Hubert Harth confirmed the search of the school, which is part of the Taqwa mosque and its adjoining cultural association, but would not comment on any further details. He told the German press that the authorities would now be busy sifting through the confiscated material and that it would probably take weeks before any conclusion could be drawn.

Teaching fundamentalism

Authorities for the city launched the investigation after receiving a complaint from a female student at the school, who claimed children were being exposed to video material which offended human rights. One of the videos mentioned allegedly showed a decapitation, another featured violence against women. Authorities had also registered complaints of female pupils being slapped as punishment at the school and treated in a degrading manner.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Frankfurt told German public television that there were "indications that the school was calling for a holy war against non-believers and that violent images were used to illustrate the war."

Moschee in Frankfurt durchsucht Ayaozu Ahmed

Ayaozu Ahmed

Ayaozu Ahmed (photo) from the Taqwa mosque vehemently rejected the accusations, saying the school had never shown violent material to its pupils and that its sole purpose was to teach children Arabic so that they can read the Koran. "We have never shown such things. We don't even have a video player," he told the media.

So-called Koran schools, such as the one in Frankfurt where 300 children are instructed in Arabic and studies of the Koran, enjoy a growing popularity in Germany. Unlike regular public schools they do not fall under the supervision of the state school board and their is no control of the content of their teachings.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the growing presence of Islamic terrorist activities in Europe, many authorities are concerned that such schools could be the breeding ground for fundamentalist Islam and extremist ideas. Only recently, a Muslim school in Bonn financed by the Saudi Arabian government was forced to open its doors to government supervision after similar concerns came to the attention of authorities who threatened to completely shut the school down.

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