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German mosque raids criticised

Published on 17/03/2004

17 March 2004

BERLIN – A German Islamic leader on Wednesday criticized German authorities for carrying out a large number of raids on mosques and homes of Moslems.

Nadeem Elyas, chairman of the Central Council of Moslems, said police had searched more than 80 German mosques and over 1,000 apartments and offices belonging to Moslems in Germany in connection with anti-terror sweeps.

“All this achieved nothing,” said Elyas in a Deutschland Radio interview.

Elyas called on German authorities to view the Moslem community as partners in the struggle against terrorism.

“We must indeed exclude fringe groups and win over the majority of German Moslems as partners by giving them the feeling they belong here,” Elyas said.

He underlined that the Central Council strongly condemned last week’s Madrid attacks which left 200 people dead and are suspected to have been carried out by Islamic extremists.

Islam cannot justify such acts, declared Elyas.

Germany has about 3.1 million Moslems out of a total population of 82 million. The vast majority of German Moslems are from Turkey.

Leaders of the extremist group which carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States lived in the northern German city of Hamburg, posing as students, in the years prior to the attack.



Subject: German News