Munich: Heads of Muslim organizations arrested

Munich: Heads of Muslim organizations arrested

Two weeks ago I reported about arrests of Muslim leaders in Germany and Belgium.  German news now has more information about the case.

I attended several preaches by Ücüncü and el Zayat, exclusive for Muslims. In a mosque in "Klein Istanbul", Berlin, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslim Turks and Arabs, Ücüncü said, "We Muslims must use every means possible to fight the infidels in this society and change it into a Muslim one. Armed jihad is a legitimate instrument. The Germans understand only the language of violence. They are fighting our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq." The local media were not allowed to attend this preach.  (Canada Free Press)


Two important German Islamic officials are involved in founding a criminal organization.  It involves financial transactions for Islamic and violent organization in Southern Germany.  Revenue from dubious transactions or "fraudulent financial structures" could have helped Islamists.  The investors for the Munich prosecution and the police estimate that there were direct links between the officials who worked in Cologne and Kerpen and activists in Munich and Ulm.

One of the defendants is active in leading a Munich mosque connected to the Sunni-extremist Muslim Brotherhood, says the Munich police.  Another called to support God's warriors by donating for weapons purchasing, already during the Bosnia War.  All together the police speaks of seven suspects in the Bavarian capital from across the Islamic spectrum.

According to German newspaper „Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the prime defendant Ibrahim El-Zayat, who organized his extensive business from the Köln-Nippes neighborhood, played an important role in the range of German Islamic associations and manages real estate across Europe for Milli Görüs.  The 41 year old is also chairman of the Islamic Congregations in Germany (IGD).

Another defendant is the general secretary of Milli Görüs, Oguz Üçüncü.  In this role, the 39 year old is responsible for the organization which has branches throughout Europe, and is based in Kerpen.  At the instigation of the Munich prosecution  El-Zayat's and Üçüncü's offices and homes were searches.  Thirteen raids in Cologne, Köln, Bornheim, Kerpen, Hamm, Munich, Garching and Berlin, as well as one in Belgium, secured materials which are now being evaluated in Munich.

The investigators think that El-Zayat and Üçüncü together with the other suspects, worked together with the purpose of committing crimes with the aim of obtaining funds directed towards their political-religious and ultimately, Islamic, goals, and this already for several years.  There This includes several cases of fraud, forgery, embezzlement, money laundering and violations of the Banking Act.  

Though the Munich authorities stress that they are investigating individuals and not the entire Islamic community, Milli Görüs has for years played a leading role in the complicated organizational structure of the Muslim interests in Germany.  The organization, founded in Cologne in 1985, has a longstanding dispute with the Germany Interior Ministry which due to its traditional roots in the international, anti-democratic and anti-Western Milli Görüs movement, classified it as "Islamist".

The German association does not deny these roots but claims that is now firmly grounded on the Western liberal order.  A generational change is reflected within the organization, with fierce debate among the old guard and the new leadership, which was mostly born in Germany.  Üçüncü always appeared as the representative of this new self-image.

Similarly, Ibrahim El-Zayat is watched by the security services.  In an interview in „Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger" („Der Herr der Moscheen", 20. 12. 2007) he said that the German public should finally acknowledge that the Muslim organization had changed throughout the years.  He can understand teh mistrust of the German public, but not the 'proxy war', which the authorities and politicians wanted to fight with the Islamic institutions, when the real danger was the fall of man and his environment.

A father to three daughter, he studied law and economics in Darmstadt, Marburg and Cologne, and speaks seven languages.  He leaves the decision regarding the headscarf to his daughters.  El Zayat's wife, Sabiha is a doctor.  She is the sister of Mehmet Erbakan, who was chairman of Milli Görüs in Germany for many years.

Now the Munich investigators connect him to these 'real dangers'.  When El-Zayat or Üçüncü are asked about the latest allegations, they answer simply that the accusations are without any basis and they do not want to say any more.

El-Zayat was repeatedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.  According to a media report, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt said that El-Zayat is their leader in Germany.  In reply El-Zayat said he naturally condemned 'all terrorism'.

The new allegations against the Islamic officials affect more than the two Islamic associations.  They also bring up criticism of the integration policy talks which Milli Görüs participated in.  A dominating power in the Islamic Council, the controversial association of former chairman Ali Kizilkaya participated in the Islam Conference of Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

Ibrahim El-Zayat's IGD is a member of the Central Council of Muslims, which also has discussions with Schäuble.  Observers who know El-Zayata describe him as a clever dialogue partner, but also as power oriented.  In the Central Council of Muslims he's considered a more powerful manipulator in the background, where with his radical positions he makes life difficult for moderate-conservative chairman Axel Ayyub Köhler.

The highly educated, sophisticated El-Zayat is also the mastermind behind the scenes in the 'Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany" („Koordinierungsrat der Muslime in Deutschland") where the Islamic Council and the Central Council sit with the Turkish-Islamic Union, DITIB, and the Association of Islamic Cultural Centers (Verband der islamischen Kulturzentren, VIKZ), an organization fighting for the joint interests of Muslims in Germany.

DITIB and VIKZ were recently criticized for their connections with the politically controversial organizations.  The interior ministry, which indirectly negotiated with an organization which according to its constitutional jurisdiction it should watching, was also criticized, also for the fact that Milli Görüs sits in  various discussion tables on the local level. In Cologne, mayor Fritz Schramma even appointed the organization to the municipal "Council of Religions", where its representatives have access to papers dealing with extremists.

Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (German), h/t Tundra Tabloids

See also: Germany/Belgium: Investigation into suspect terror cell

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