Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar are supporting extremist Islamic groups in Germany, according to a leaked intelligence report.
A brief seen by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR raised concern over a reported increase in support for fundamentalist Salafism in Germany, warning that the ideology already has 10,000 followers and is growing.
The report, by Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency and Federal Intelligence Service (BND) reportedly accused Gulf groups of funding mosques, religious schools, hardline preachers and conversion or “dawah” groups to spread the ideology.
Missionary movements were part of a “long-running strategy to exert influence” by the three states, it found, naming the Saudi Muslim World League, Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Association and Kuwaiti Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), which has been banned by the US and Russia for allegedly supporting al-Qaeda.
The report said all three organisations were “closely connected with government offices in their home countries”.
The BND and BfV have not confirmed the accuracy of leaked excerpts but sources told Deutsche Welle that some members of the security community believe it was internally leaked to pressure the German government into stopping controversial arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
The country’s ambassador to Germany, Awwas Alawwad, rejected accusations of supporting Salafism, saying his government does not build mosques or export imams and has “no connection with German Salafism”.
He added that the Muslim World League was not a Saudi government organisation and discontinued activities in Germany in 2013.
The Sheikh Eid association and RIHS have also denied connections to jihadi terrorism in the past.
The report comes weeks after the German government banned an Islamist missionary group linked to more than 140 Isis fighters following raids on mosques, offices and homes across the country.
Die Wahre Religion (DWR), meaning “The True Religion”, started in 2005 and claimed to spread Islam in Germany “in a modern form and with the help of new media”.
The Salafist group gained prominence with a Quran distribution campaign called Lies!, meaning “Read!”, which has since spread to countries including the UK, France, Bahrain and Brazil.
But officials said the initiative was “bringing jihadi Islamists together across the nation under the pretext of preaching Islam” while spreading hate and conspiracy theories.
Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, said that the prohibition of DWR aimed to stop the “abuse of a religion by people, who under the pretext of spreading Islam are propagating extremist ideologies and supporting terrorist organisations”.
“By banning this organisation, a major source of radicalisation has been eradicated nationwide,” he added.
A terror network radicalising young Muslims and sending them to fight for Isis in Syria was also dismantled by authorities last month.
Germany has been on high alert since it was hit by two terror attacks carried out by Isis supporters in July, with other plots subsequently uncovered amid warnings that attempts to attack Europe will continue.
Jaber al-Bakr, a suspected Isis supporter detained on suspicion of planning to attack a Berlin airport with homemade explosives, killed himself in prison days after being arrested in October.
According to figures released in May by intelligence services, 820 jihadis have left Germany for Syria and Iraq, with a third known to have returned, 140 killed and 420 remaining abroad.
Tensions have risen following the arrival of almost 900,000 refugees in the country last year, driving support for right-wing groups and a national debate on Islam and integration.
The issue sparked Angela Merkel's call for a burqa ban earlier this month, as she seeks a fourth term in office.
Independent News Service
A second batch of leaked email exchanges allegedly between Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign chair John Podesta have been seized on by both left and ring wing commentators as evidence of inconsistencies in the Democratic presidential nominee’s foreign policy stance.
Boris Johnson has been slapped down by Theresa May for his comments on Saudi Arabia's role in the Middle East but the UK Foreign Secretary isn't the first to express such sentiments.
So after the grotesquerie of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 suicide killers of 9/11, meet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad, and the ultimate humiliators of Bush and Obama.
The Saudis step deeper into trouble almost by the week. Swamped in their ridiculous war in Yemen, they are now reeling from an extraordinary statement issued by around two hundred Sunni Muslim clerics who effectively referred to the Wahhabi belief – practiced in Saudi Arabia – as “a dangerous deformation” of Sunni Islam.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US has evaded answering a question about Saudi Arabia’s alleged use of cluster munitions in the Yemeni civil war by answering, “This is like the question, ‘Will you stop beating your wife?’”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon removed the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen from an annual UN register of children’s rights violators, after the middle-eastern country and its coalition partners threatened to cut off crucial funding to the world body.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Thanks to the immediacy of television, innocent civilians in Syria were writhing from gas attacks before our eyes, with the blame laid on their own government.
There are many reasons why Belgium has become a hotbed of radical Islamism. Some of the answers may lie in the implanting of Saudi Salafist preachers in the country from the 1960s.
In Geneva tomorrow a range of human rights organisations will co-sponsor a side event at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council addressing "the extensive use of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment in the Saudi criminal justice system".