Germany Bans Islamic NGO After Accusations of Terrorism Funding

FILE - In this file photo posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on March 28, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, a fighter from Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front holds his group flag as he stands in front of the governor building in Idlib province, north …
Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP, File

Germany has banned the Islamic NGO Ansaar International after it was accused of sending money to terrorist groups in Syria and Somalia.

The ban comes as police carried out raids on the association in ten different German states on Wednesday, searching and seizing objects in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and Hesse.

According to a report from the German newspaper Die Welt, the Interior Ministry has claimed that the NGO, founded in 2012, was covertly raising money for the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia, the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, and Hamas in Palestine, while claiming to support charitable causes.

In 2018 alone, Ansaar International was believed to have collected as much as €8 to €10 million (£6.95m – £8.69m/$9.65m – $12.1m) in donations. According to Deutsche Welle, the organisation is also accused of issuing fake donation receipts and forging documents.

Along with funding terror groups, the NGO is also accused of helping to send children from Germany abroad to “internalise Salafist-extremist content there and to bring it back to Germany”.

The Dusseldorf-based Ansaar International is not the only group to be banned, as several linked groups, such as the Änis Ben-Hatira Foundation, the Somali Committee for Information and Advice in Darmstadt, and the women’s rights Frauenrechte ANS Justice eV association have also been banned by the government.

“This is a serious blow against terrorist financing and Salafist missionary work in Germany,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said and added that such groups bring actual charitable groups into disrepute.

The ban and raids come after the Düsseldorf Prosecutor General’s Office opened an investigation into the activity of the NGO in April. Three suspects were arrested after raids in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, including a Düsseldorf-based lawyer.

The raids come just months after coordinated raids in Berlin and Brandenburg on a banned Islamic extremist group that saw 800 officers involved in the operation.

The number of radical Islamic extremists who are adherents of the Salafist ideology has grown in recent years, with a 2018 report claiming that Germany had over 10,000 Salafist extremists. According to Reuters, that number had grown to over 12,000 by 2019.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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