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Charges cleared

September 21, 2010

After being accused of fraud and supporting terrorism, one of Germany's largest Islamic groups, Milli Gorus, has been cleared of all charges. Milli Gorus' General Secretary said the process had a "political background."

Graphic of a crescent moon over a German flag and map
There are around 4 million Muslims living in GermanyImage: DW Fotomontage

The Munich prosecutor has dropped all serious charges against top officials of the Muslim group Milli Gorus and several other Muslim organizations.

Six officials had been charged with fraud, money laundering, the support of terrorist organizations and association with criminals. In the spring of 2009 there were extensive raids.

According to the German daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the 19 month investigations into the groups have been discontinued.

The General Secretary of the organization, Olaz Ucuncu said he suspected there was a "political background" to the investigation. The investigators "found nothing," he said.

The German Islam Conference

The allegations were so severe that at the time, the Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere excluded the Islam Council from the government-sponsored Islam Conference. Milli Gorus is one of the dominant groups in the Islam Council.

Thomas de Maiziere at second Islamic Conference 2010
The conference includes 17 state heads and 17 people from the Muslim communityImage: picture alliance/dpa

The conference brings together politicians and representatives of the Muslim community to discuss integration.

However the 2010 conference was boycotted by several groups due to the exclusion of Milli Gorus and only two of the country's four largest Muslim umbrella groups were at the discussions.

Ucuncu told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that it is unlikely that Milli Gorus will wish to take part in future Islam Conferences organized by the government.

There are an estimated four million Muslims living in Germany, most of them with Turkish roots. The Milli Gorus group started in Turkey and now has a nationwide presence in Germany in over 300 mosques.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (AP/AFP/epd)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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