German Police in Lower Saxony raid Islamist radicals
Police in Lower Saxony, Germany, have conducted extensive raids against so-called Salafists who profess a radical form of Islam. The action targeted the association of the German-language Islamic Circle (DIK).
Authorities believe the materials they have now obtained will serve as the basis for banning any associations regarded as headquarters for German Salafism. The NDR radio station reported the news today.
Around 400 police officers intervened Wednesday evening in the DIK's main mosque in Hildesheim, located about 20 kilometers from Hannover. Police also searched the homes of the association's top representatives.
The raid also involved the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which functions as a civilian counter-intelligence service whose main tasks include tracking rightist, leftist and religious extremists. "DIK-German Hildesheim is the headquarters of the radical Salafist scene," said Lower Saxony State Interior Minister Boris Pistorius.
"After months of preparation we have, through this raid, made an important step toward disabling this group," Pistorius told the press. DIK representatives have held seminars where they have preached hatred against "infidels" and tried to radicalize their supporters.
According to Pistorius, the DIK has also urged German Muslims to join the terrorist organization DAESH (the so-called Islamic State). Nineteen out of 74 people from Lower Saxony who have traveled to Syria to join DAESH, according to the authorities, were radicalized at the DIK Hildesheim mosque.
Salafists are adherents of a radical school of thought that advocates a return to early forms of Islam and strict adherence to Sharia law. According to the BfV more than 8 000 adherents of Salafism currently live in Germany.
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