German police conduct nationwide raids against Islamist group

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere

German police launched dawn raids on mosques, apartments and offices in ten German states on Tuesday, and the government banned an organisation it accused of trying to recruit fighters for the Islamic State (IS) group, the interior ministry said.

A spokeswoman for the ministry described the DWR ‘True Religion’ organisation as a mobilising network for IS group, though she said there was no indication it was planning attacks itself.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere believed the group breached Germany’s constitution and incited hatred, she added. He was due to make a statement on the arrests and the ban later on Tuesday.

The group is also known for its controversial programme called “Lies!” which distributes copies of the Koran in German. But experts say the translation is a particularly strict version from the original Arabic text.

“The message to the radical Islamist scene is clear: we do not tolerate fanatics who try to radicalise young people and send them to jihad,” said Peter Beuth, the interior minister for Hesse state, where the raids also took place.

“By banning this organisation, a major source of radicalisation has been eradicated nationwide. Those who spread hate messages can’t hide behind freedom of religion, the interior ministry has underlined this with the ban today,” he added.

Police said last month they had foiled an alleged plot by a Syrian refugee to bomb one of Berlin’s airports.

Authorities last week also announced the arrest of five men suspected of recruiting fighters for IS group.