Germany's mosques: too much influence from Ankara?

The state board for Lower Saxony of Germany's largest Islamic association, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Ditib), has resigned in protest at what it says is excessive influence from Ankara. Yilmaz Kilic, the chairman, of the board, said that representatives of the Turkish embassy had tried to influence the board's work. Commentators say Germany should crack down on Turkish influence-peddling.

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Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Erdoğan's fifth column

The resignation is a call for help, the taz believes:

“Now at the very latest all those who believed the ludicrous idea that the Ditib could be a serious negotiating partner on matters of integration must see just how mistaken they were. ... As opposed to what it claimed until now, the Ditib has never been merely a religious community responsible for overseeing the religious interests of Muslims in Germany. Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, which is subordinate to the prime minister, has long called the shots regarding the fate of the organisation. ... It's good news that the German government is no longer sponsoring any projects coming under the auspices of the Ditib. But that's not enough. It should be made clear on all levels that there is no need for a fifth column of the autocratic Erdoğan regime.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Time to send Ankara's Ditib officials home

Die Welt recommends taking a look at the legislation Austria has introduced concerning mosques:

“The government under former SPÖ chancellor Werner Faymann passed an Islam law in 2015 stipulating 'a positive attitude to society and the state'. It states that 'fundraising for the normal activities required to satisfy the religious needs of its members' should 'take place within Austria'. All religious functionaries from abroad had one year after the law went into effect to leave the country. Why is it taking so long for the German government follow suit? Ankara's Ditib officials belong in Turkey.”