German authorities have struck down on another Islamist group. Police raided a mosque that served as a meeting place for Salafist extremists.
Some 160 German police officers on Wednesday morning raided five properties, including a Mosque, in the Kassel area. According to Hessen state authorities, the sites were linked to an entity known as the "Almadinah Islamic Culture Organization" and served as a meeting space for Salafist extremists.
Hessen's interior minister, Peter Beuth, described the so-called Medina Mosque as a place "where jihad and hate directed towards our tolerant society was stoked,"
Beuth said that Wednesday's raids sent a signal to extremists that there is "no place for hate preachers in Hessen."
"The investigations did not target the Islamic belief or those that preach it, but rather those who exploit religion by using it as a cover to advocate extremist propaganda," Beuth said.
Hessen's interior ministry had begun investigating and collecting evidence on the association since July. According to the authorities, a number of visitors to the mosque had already travelled out to Syria to fight with the so-called "Islamic State."
"Extremist propaganda is the foundation for Islamic radicalization and ultimately for violence," said Beuth. The salafist ideology is a force that is not to be underestimated, particularly with how it affects adolescents and young adults."
Last week, German authorities carried out more than 200 searches across 10 states against suspected radical fundamentalists belonging to the so-called "True Religion" group. Following the raid, interior minister Thomas de Maizière said that the Salafist group had "spread messages of hate and anti-constitutional ideologies."
dm/kl (dpa, Hessisches Ministerium des Innern und für Sport)