Germany: War propaganda by religious associations "unacceptable”

DIE LINKE asked the federal government about its support for religious associations such as DITIB for the war of aggression in northern Syria, which is carried out in violation of international law.

On the occasion of Turkey's illegal war of aggression against Northern Syria, the Turkish religious authority Diyanet called for victory prayers for the Turkish troops in the country's mosques. The authority, whose religious officials also act as imams in mosques of the Islamic associations DITIB, ATIB and Milli Görüş in the Federal Republic of Germany, sent a Friday sermon in which it literally said: "Help our heroic army, which has started a campaign for the security of our country". In mosques of Turkish Islamic associations such as DITIB and Milli Görüş in Germany, prayers were also held for a victory for the Turkish army.

Jelpke: Visas for such religious officials should be withdrawn

Ulla Jelpke, the spokeswoman for domestic policy of the parliamentary group DIE LINKE, asked the federal government about these events. The federal government described the attempted influence of Diyanet imams in Germany to support Turkish military intervention in Syria as "unacceptable". Jelpke demanded: "However, it should not remain only with admonitory words. If foreign religious officials use their professional position to support their government's war of aggression in violation of international law, their work visas should be withdrawn immediately.”

No individual cases

However, the German MP has justified doubts about the Federal Government's representation that these are individual cases. Jelpke cites the justified argument that DITIB is a centrally controlled association of the Turkish religious authority Diyanet.

Grey Wolf Deputy Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims

She continues: "It comes as no surprise that Mehmet Alparslan Celebi, deputy chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, has also called for support for the Turkish war of aggression on Northern Syria. After all, his association ATIB, which is organised in the Central Council, is a direct offshoot of the fascist Grey Wolves. However, I find astonishing how Turkish nationalism and chauvinism are spread here under the cloak of religion - that should contradict the claim of Islam to unite nations."

In 2018, in Germany and Austria, several performances of plays organised by DITIB - which is suspected of carrying out spying activities for the Turkish government - were made public. Uniformed child soldiers handled toy weapons in the plays, shouted military commands and salute before dying for their fatherland, covered with the Turkish flag. At the same time, the Turkish army, supported by jihadist allies, invaded the northern Syrian canton of Afrin. Thousands of people died, countless were injured and had to leave their homes.