German media is reporting that a branch of a Turkish-German mosque association was sponsoring an event featuring Ahmet Şimşirgil, a Turkish historian known for homophobic and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. According to Die Welt report:
March 21, 2021 The Rhineland-Palatinate regional association of the mosque association DITIB is handing out invitations to an event with a historian known for anti-Zionist and homophobic conspiracy myths. The association aims to cooperate in the teaching of Islam. It is an explosive appearance that was planned at the Rhineland-Palatinate state association of the German-Turkish mosque association DITIB. On Sunday evening, the controversial Turkish historian Ahmet Şimşirgil was to appear there at an online event. […]
Only on Saturday, the historian appeared on the Turkish television station TGRT Haber, which is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP party, and once again showed his homophobic attitude. The topic was Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe convention to combat violence against women. Through the international treaty, the West has tried to infiltrate Turkey with the LGBT lobby (the acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, editor’s note) that it finances, he said. This would destroy family structures and spread homosexuality, he said. “If they infect Turkey with this disease, the entire Islamic world will fall with it,” Şimşirgil added. Erdogan had signed the treaty himself after it was drafted in 2011. […]
On his YouTube channel, the videos have names like “Vatican — center of homosexuality” or “Zionist intrigues that destroyed the Ottoman Empire.” In August 2020, he portrayed the so-called Islamic State on Twitter as a product of the “terrorist state of Israel”.
[Translated by DeepL with edits]
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The article notes that DITIB later canceled the event without providing a reason.
DITIB, or the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, manages over 900 mosques in Germany. The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) determines the theological guidelines for the imams’ sermons, and the Turkish consulate pays their salaries. Earlier this month, the GIOR reported that the head of the Göttingen branch of DITIB resigned over accusations of antisemitism. Other GIOR reporting about DITIB includes:
- In December 2020, we reported that DITIB collaborated with Millî Görüş to influence the Turkish diaspora in France.
- In November 2020, we reported that Turkish-German associations protested a Turkish official’s request that DITIB supply candidates for Turkish teaching positions in mosques.
- In October 2020, we reported that the head of DITIB had asked the organization’s student dorm coordinators to encourage their students to work for the organization.
Further reporting has indicated that the head of the DITIB branch has since resigned over the incident, and the local government has called upon DITIB to issue a statement
Because of the then withdrawn invitation of Simsirgil, who is accused of anti-Zionist and homophobic statements, the state government, for the first time since the signing of target agreements on April 1, 2020, approached one of the four Islamic associations and requested a statement. “Public statements from the invited guest are known to be in clear contrast to the understanding concluded in the target agreement,” a spokesman for the responsible Ministry of Culture explained. After DITIB’s statement, the state government will decide “what consequences it will derive for the target agreement process from this incident.”
[Translated by DeepL with edits]