German Police Track Islamic Group Across 10 states
German Police Track Islamic Group Across 10 states. Photo: AFP

Police in Germany have carried out raids across 10 states in a probe against Islamic group suspected of promoting hate.

The group is also probed for inciting 140 youths to fight alongside jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

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Known as The True Religion, the group is now also banned. That is according to the Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

“Across the country, jihadist Islamists came together in this group named The True Religion,” he said.

“Under the pretext of promoting Islam, under the pretext of supposedly harmless distribution of translated versions of the Qur’an that took place in pedestrian zones, hate messages were propagated and young people radicalised,” the interior minister added.
After particpating in the Koran distribution campaign organised by the group,De Maiziere noted that after participating in the Qur’an distribution campaign organised by the group, De Maiziere noted that “140 young people travelled to Syria and Iraq where they joined the fight with terrorist groups.”

About 200 homes targeted in 10 states

The raids targeted around 200 homes and sites in 10 states including North Rhine-Westphalia in the west. It was also done in Hamburg in the north and Baden-Wuerttemberg in the southwest.

Experts say the German translation of the Koran distributed by the group is a particularly strict version from the original Arabic text.

Tuesday’s ban is the biggest such prohibition in Germany targeting Islamist groups after another organisation called “The Caliphate State” was outlawed in 2001.

Action not against religion

De Maiziere stressed that Tuesday’s action is not targeted against the general distribution of translated Korans, but against those who “abuse religion and who use it as a pretext to spread extremist ideology and to back terrorist organisations”.

“The 140 departures by the group’s activists speak for themselves,” the minister said.

Figures released in May by intelligence services shows that 820 jihadists have left Germany for Syria and Iraq.

And almost a third have returned and 140 were killed while abroad, while around 420 are still in Syria or Iraq.

Germany has so far been spared large-scale jihadist attacks.

But it was shaken by two assaults claimed by IS and carried out by asylum seekers. One was an axe rampage on a train in Wuerzburg that injured five, and a suicide bombing in Ansbach which claimed 15 lives.

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 the Islamic State group.