German media reported last month that the German government had expelled a senior leader of a Hamburg mosque linked to the Iranian government because he “maintains close contacts with terrorist organizations.” According to a report by Welt:
June 21, 2022 The Hamburg State Office for the Protection of the Constitution has long regarded the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH), which operates the Blue Mosque on the Alster, as an outpost of the Iranian mullah regime in Europe. Here, it says, “Iranian Islamists” are at work. The city is partnered with the center via a state treaty. This has repeatedly sparked criticism. Now the Interior Ministry is taking action against one of the center’s leading cadres. The deputy director, Seyed Soliman Mousavifar, will be expelled, the Interior Ministry confirmed. He maintains close contacts with terrorist organizations, it said. The authorities are basing this on findings of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. First, the “Bild” newspaper had reported on the case. After Mousavifar was served with an order, he now has three months to leave the country. If he does not leave the country, he could be deported to Iran. [Translated with DeepL]
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The Islamic Centre Hamburg (IZH) is an influential mosque closely linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran and monitored by Germany’s internal intelligence agency for 26 years. The most recent annual report of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency describes the IZH as follows:
June 2022 The “Islamisches Zentrum Hamburg e.V.” (IZH), the sponsoring organization of the “Imam Ali Mosque” in Hamburg, is, along with the Iranian embassy, the most important representation of Iran in Germany and an important propaganda center of Iran in Europe. With the help of the IZH, Iran is trying to bind Shiites of various nationalities to itself and to spread the social, political and religious basic values of the Iranian state in Europe. The Shiite umbrella organization “Islamische Gemeinschaft der schiiti schen Gemeinden Deutschlands e.V.” (IGS) serves as an important element for steering the interests of the IZH. [Translated with DeepL]
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In April, the Global Influence Operations Report reported that the IZH has been involved in a state-recognized shura council and is among a group of Iranian and Turkish influence organizations having input in youth welfare.
Iran is one of the most active influence actors in its use of hackers and other cyber operations. The country also employs an extensive network of affiliated groups and organizations, such as the Islamic Center of England and the Islamic Centre Hamburg. Iran also funds PressTV, a global media operation in support of its goals.
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