Germany: Anonymous Mosque Watchers

Germany: Anonymous Mosque Watchers

Via Spiegel:

Reinhard Werner doesn't trust Islam. The 70-year-old German is part of a group which keeps tabs on mosques across Germany, monitoring them for what he calls an "intolerant Islam of terror." Over the years, he has gained a certain amount of notoriety.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

Reinhard Werner is a few minutes early, but because he doesn't want to be noticed, he stands outside on the sidewalk in front of the mosque, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible.

It's Friday afternoon in Munich's Pasing neighborhood and men are scurrying past Werner on their way to Friday prayers. All of them, in Werner's eyes, are enemies. He claims that the mosque is spreading what he calls an "intolerant Islam of terror."

"Do you see the sign over the entrance?" he says.

The letters "DITIB" are printed on the sign. DITIB, an acronym for the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, is the umbrella organization for roughly 900 mosque congregations in Germany. It is controlled by a Turkish government organization based in Ankara, the Office for Religious Affairs, making it indirectly answerable to the Turkish prime minister. "A military mosque," says Werner.

"Do you see that the letter 'I' in DITIB resembles a minaret? And that the minarets look like missiles?" he asks, beseechingly. It isn't always easy for Werner to make himself understood.

Werner is a member of the "Anonymous Mosque Observers," a group of Muslims who fled to Germany from Muslim countries because they came into conflict with religious rules.

Although Werner is not a Muslim himself, nor is he fleeing anything, he feels a kinship with Muslims who have fled their native countries. These Muslims trust their more settled Muslim counterparts about as much as former US President George W. Bush trusted terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. They keep tabs on what goes on in mosques because they want to be sure that they are still safe in Germany.


Of the 36 mosques in Munich, nine are in Werner's "observation area." He reports everything he sees and hears to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany's domestic intelligence agency. The BfV, however, doesn't seem to be taking him very seriously, or at least it hasn't found his reports to be sufficiently convincing to take any action.


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