Authorities have carried out more than 200 searches against suspected radical fundamentalists. German media reported that the targets were part of the well-known “True Religion” Salafist group.
A string of raids were carried out across Germany early on Tuesday morning against suspected “Islamic State” (IS) sympathizers. According to news agency DPA, the raids took place in more than 200 homes and offices across 10 federal states.
Authorities carried out searches targeting individuals belonging to the “True Religion” Salafist group (“Die wahre Religion”), who have stirred up controversy for passing out a particularly fundamentalist translation of the Koran.
The Interior Ministry confirmed the actions in a tweet, and announced a ban of the organization:
Some 65 raids were carried out in the state of Hesse, 15 of them in the city of Frankfurt alone. Every one of the searches took place in Berlin or the former West.
Salafism promotes a very strict interpretation of Islamic scripture and the use of Sharia law to impose order. The “True Religion” Salafists targeted in Tuesday’s raid have become infamous in Germany in recent years for disseminating copies of the Koran emblazoned with the slogan “Read It!” before they were banned from doing so in pedestrian zones by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
A Twitter account appearing to represent the group claimed that “the Koran has been banned in Germany,” going on to say “we have delivered God’s message.”
The raids came just one week after German authorities began a renewed crackdown on the country’s top Salafist ideologues, including 32-year old hate preacher Abu Walaa. Walaa, an Iraqi who has been in Germany since 2000, is suspected of supporting IS interests in Germany.