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Islamic centre searched over 'Isis link'

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Photo: DPA
14:30 CET+01:00
Around 70 police officers searched the Sahabe Islamic Education and Cultural Centre in Stuttgart on Tuesday, looking for connections to terrorist organisation Isis.

“There is concrete suspicion that the association fulfils the criteria for being forbidden under the law,” Baden-Württemberg interior minister Reinhold Gall said in a statement.

“We've been watching the association for a long time, but the suspicions of breaching the law have grown more serious recently.”

Organizations can be banned by elected officials under certain circumstances, including if they carry out or plan violent acts, or encourage others to do so.

Gall said the Sahabe association “supports the use of violence to assert religious values and supports a foreign organization, the so-called Islamic State, which provokes attacks against people or property.”

The interior ministry statement said that the Sahabe Centre was “dominated by Salafists” from the western Balkans and “could be described as a meeting point for Islamists from all over Baden-Württemberg.”

Six people connected to the association had traveled to Syria since 2013 to support the fight against the Assad regime, the interior ministry said – although they did not say whether those people had joined Isis itself or a different armed group.

Three of the those who left had died, the statement added, while a number of other people linked to the association had been prevented from travelling to Syria by the authorities.

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Police chose Tuesday for the search so as not to interfere with preparations for Friday religious services, in a bid to indicate consideration for Muslims' beliefs.

SEE ALSO: Police grab 'Isis fighter' at Frankfurt airport

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