TurkeyJanuary 31 2024, 9:32 am

German Conservatives Want Government Action on DITIB

On 4 Jan­u­ary 2024, Der Spiegel report­ed that CDU MP Christoph de Vries had urged the Ger­man gov­ern­ment to take tougher mea­sures to counter Turkey’s influ­ence on mosques in Ger­many. While acknowl­edg­ing pos­i­tive steps, such as a ban on accept­ing Turk­ish-trained imams at DITIB com­mu­ni­ties and instead train­ing them local­ly, de Vries argued that fur­ther mea­sures were need­ed. He empha­sized that DITIB was not just a reli­gious com­mu­ni­ty but also a polit­i­cal tool in the hands of a pres­i­dent who com­bined Turk­ish nation­al­ism with Islamism. The CDU also called for stricter laws, includ­ing mea­sures to curb for­eign fund­ing of mosques. The Amer­i­can Jew­ish Com­mit­tee (AJC) in Berlin advo­cat­ed for a change in approach, stat­ing that orga­ni­za­tions like DITIB should no longer be con­sid­ered polit­i­cal part­ners. The AJC empha­sized that Diyanet leader Ali Erbaş had referred to Israel as a “rusty dag­ger in the heart of Islam­ic geog­ra­phy” fol­low­ing the Hamas attack on Israel. The Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (Turk­ish: Diyanet İşl­eri Türk-İsl­am Bir­liği; DITIB) is a mosque umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion that oper­ates in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. The orga­ni­za­tion is linked to the Diyanet, a Turk­ish gov­ern­ment agency respon­si­ble for reli­gious affairs.

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