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Turkish, Iranian Influence Organizations to have Input in Hamburg Youth Welfare

April 1st, 2022 13:27

Ger­man media is report­ing that the Ham­burg City Sen­ate would allow groups influ­enced by the Turk­ish and Iran­ian gov­ern­ments to have input in youth wel­fare. Accord­ing to the Die Welt report:

Feb­ru­ary 15, 2022: The red-green Ham­burg Sen­ate wants the Islam­ic asso­ci­a­tions DITIB and Shu­ra to have a say in youth wel­fare. DITIB has close ties to Turkey, while the Islam­ic Cen­ter Ham­burg, which is loy­al to Iran, belongs to Ham­burg’s Shu­ra Coun­cil. The plans are also con­tro­ver­sial among the Greens.[…] In Ham­burg, youth wel­fare issues are decid­ed by the State Youth Wel­fare Com­mit­tee of the Social Wel­fare Author­i­ty. In the future, the red-green Sen­ate also wants to allow rep­re­sen­ta­tives of two con­tro­ver­sial Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tions to become advi­so­ry mem­bers of this com­mit­tee. These are the North­ern Region­al Asso­ci­a­tion of the Ger­man-Turk­ish mosque asso­ci­a­tion DITIB, which has close ties to the Turk­ish state, and the umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion Shu­ra Ham­burg, which includes the Islam­ic Cen­ter Ham­burg — accord­ing to the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, “an impor­tant pro­pa­gan­da cen­ter of Iran in Europe.” […] In fact, the con­tro­ver­sial Islam­ic Cen­ter of Ham­burg has not been rep­re­sent­ed on the Shu­ra board since Jan­u­ary of this year. The chair­man [of Shu­ra Ham­burg} is Fatih Yildiz. He belongs to the Islam­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Mil­li Görüs (IGMG), which is mon­i­tored by the Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion in the area of Islamism. How­ev­er, ref­er­ences to extrem­ism have become weak­er in recent years. In Ham­burg, the Office does not mon­i­tor IGMG. [Trans­lat­ed by DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here (pay­wall)

The arti­cle also reports on a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion in the city of Essen, where DITIB wish­es to become a spon­sor of inde­pen­dent youth wel­fare services.

The Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (DITIB) man­ages over 900 mosques in Ger­many. At the same time, the Turk­ish  Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs  (Diyanet)  deter­mines the the­o­log­i­cal guide­lines for imams’ ser­mons, and the Turk­ish con­sulate pays their salaries. DITIB, how­ev­er, main­tains that it is inde­pen­dent of the Turk­ish state. Ger­man politi­cians have sought to have imams trained in Ger­many instead of sent over from Turkey, part­ly to reduce Turkey’s influ­ence in the country.

Islamis­che Gemein­schaft Mil­lî Görüş (IGMG) is a part of the Mil­lî Görüş move­ment, a Turk­ish reli­gious and polit­i­cal move­ment found­ed by Necmet­tin Erbakan, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s polit­i­cal men­tor and which has called for an end to the sec­u­lar regime in Turkey. The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has report­ed that accord­ing to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty has inten­si­fied its rela­tions with Mil­lî Görüş in Germany.

Ham­burg’s Shu­ra Coun­cil is one of the city’s part­ners and grants priv­i­leges such as pro­vid­ing Islam­ic reli­gious instruction.

The Islam­ic Cen­tre Ham­burg is an influ­en­tial mosque close­ly linked to the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran and mon­i­tored by Ger­many’s inter­nal intel­li­gence agency for 26 years. In Jan­u­ary, GIOR report­ed on the Cen­tre’s leav­ing the Shu­ra Coun­cil’s board.