“Behavior unacceptable”

Ditib mosque in Cologne © Oliver Berg

Despite investigations into espionage activities in the Islamic association Ditib, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is sticking to the dialogue with the association close to Turkey.

Ditib is by far the largest association of mosque communities in Germany, a ministry spokesman said Friday in Berlin. Especially in the current situation, he says, it is still necessary to remain in dialogue with Ditib. The Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib) is, among other things, a partner in the German Islam Conference, in which the state and Islamic associations negotiate the institutional anchoring of Islam in Germany.

"Muslims become part of society"

In the talks with Ditib, however, "it is made very clear that in particular a political influence or instrumentalization of the Turkish-Islamic Union by Turkey is not acceptable," the spokesman stressed. The current practice of sending imams from the Turkish religious authority Diyanet should also be abandoned. Integration policy goal, he said, is for Muslims in Germany, many of whom have an immigrant background, to see themselves more and more as part of German society.

"Regrettable breakdown"

The Federal Prosecutor's Office confirmed on Wednesday investigations into espionage activities in the Ditib Islamic association against unknown persons. Ditib had already admitted spying for the Turkish state last week. About three to five imams of the association had passed on information about the Gulen movement to the government in Ankara, Ditib Secretary General Bekir Alboga had explained.

According to him, a corresponding written instruction from the Turkish religious authority was not directly addressed to Ditib. Nevertheless, some imams had followed the instruction incorrectly. He spoke of an unfortunate "breakdown". The Ministry of the Interior would not comment on the proceedings. The investigation will be followed closely, it was said.

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