German-Turkish Mosque Organization Defends Contacts with Muslim Brotherhood

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German Catholic media is reporting that the head of the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DITIB) has defended having contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the report:

October 10, 2019 The chairman of the German-Turkish mosque association Ditib has defended contacts with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. “I think it makes sense to have a dialogue with the Muslim Brothers,” said Kazim Türkmen on Wednesday in an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Cologne. That does not mean that one accepts their attitude, added the Ditib chairman. “But such discussions can indeed have the effect that these groups move closer to one’s own position. In the present case, that would be quite positive. ” [Translated with Google Translate with minor edits]

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The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) is the largest umbrella organization of mosques in Germany, managing about 900 mosques, including the central mosque in Cologne, and has about 800,000 members. German media has reported that DITIB’s has strong ties to Turkey and that its charter states that DITIB is “linked to the Turkish government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).” As the report noted:

The Diyanet sends Turkish imams to DITIB mosques; the imams’ salaries are then paid by the respective Turkish consulate general for the duration of their stay. In other words, the Diyanet determines the theological guidelines behind what is preached in the mosques.

The GMBDW has reported previously on relationships between the Diyanet and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

An earlier German media report presents evidence that DITIB acts in the interests of the Turkish state.  According to that report:

Some imams are alleged to have acted on the orders of Turkish diplomatic posts to spy on followers of the Gulen movement, which Ankara blames for the failed coup bid. In another scandal, DITIB imams reportedly called on worshippers to pray for a Turkish military victory against Syrian Kurds in Afrin. DITIB again came under fire in April for holding a military re-enactment involving Turkish flags and fake guns handed to child “martyrs.” Last year, DITIB controversially refused to take part in an anti-terrorism march in Cologne.

A 2011 report authored by the GMBDW editor concluded that since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. That report also detailed President Erdoğan’s ideological ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood network dating back his affiliation in the 1970s with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi charity with connections to extremist and terrorist groups.

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