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Hamburg shuts mosque visited by 9/11 terrorists

AFP · 9 Aug 2010, 18:38

Published: 09 Aug 2010 10:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Aug 2010 18:38 GMT+02:00

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An affiliated cultural centre was also banned.

"Hamburg must not become a cradle of violent Islamists," the city-state's Interior Minister Christoph Ahlhaus told reporters.

"We closed the Taiba mosque today because young men were converted to religious fanatics there. A purported cultural association shamelessly exploited the freedoms of our democratic state under the rule of law to recruit for holy war behind the scenes."

Three of the September 11 hijackers including their ringleader Mohammed Atta, who piloted the first plane into New York's World Trade Center, met regularly at the mosque before moving to the United States.

The prayer house was known as Al-Quds until two years ago.

Authorities said it served for several years as a recruitment centre for fellow jihadists, including accomplices of the hijackers, and offered logistical and financial assistance to Islamic militants.

Twenty police officers searched the mosque and homes of the association's leaders in the early-morning raid and confiscated funds from the group.

"We have finally put an end to the spectre behind the walls on Steindamm," said Ahlhaus, referring to the street where the mosque is located.

The mosque, with about 45 members, was still the main meeting point for Islamic extremists in the city, according to Hamburg authorities.

Between 200 and 250 people usually attended Friday prayers including Arabs,

Iranians, Russians, Bosnians and German converts.

Its current imam, German-Syrian national Mamoun Darkazanli, is wanted by Spanish authorities as a suspected Al-Qaeda operative with alleged links to the cell behind the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people.

Germany has refused to extradite him following a ruling by its highest court, and dropped its own case against him in 2006 for lack of evidence.

Earlier this year, German media reported that the CIA had singled Darkazanli out for targeted killing. The claims were never confirmed.

In a case officials described as decisive to the closing of the mosque, 10 men who regularly attended the prayer house travelled to the border region straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan in March last year, probably to attend militant training camps.

They are under investigation by German prosecutors on suspicion of founding a terrorist organisation.

At least one of the men joined the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Pakistan and later appeared in a German-language propaganda video for the group in which he called for Muslims to take part in holy war.

Story continues below…

"The association continuously promoted jihadist, aggressive and anti-democratic ideology and religious views in recent years," Ahlhaus said.

"We do not tolerate organisations that are levelled against the constitutional order and the idea of understanding between cultures in an aggressive, militant way. But I underline that these measures are not targeted against the majority of the peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims in Hamburg."

Ahlhaus said the association had a sophisticated programme of courses, sermons, seminars and online publications to whip up hatred of "non-believers."

Germany, which opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but has some 4,500 troops in Afghanistan, has beefed up security and surveillance in response to the threat of attacks on its own soil.

In March, four Islamic militants, including two German converts to Islam, who dreamed of mounting "a second September 11" were jailed for a thwarted plot to attack US soldiers and civilians in Germany.

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Your comments about this article

11:23 August 9, 2010 by pepsionice
Realistically, there will be another Islamic group in that mosque within twelve months. But the interesting thing is that if you were radical and into recruitment....you have to imagine the German cops are surveying your operation and probably listening to phone conversations now. Once you shut down one....it's easier to shut down the second, the third, and so on.
12:08 August 9, 2010 by herzlich
why to close the mosque and why not to arrest those suspects...

I mean its ridiculous to shut down the worship place. if only 10 suspects are using that for negative 100's are using it for good puspose as well.. Simply arrest the people and interogate. If not the mosque, they will gather some where else...
12:58 August 9, 2010 by lostintranslation1
Come on, if it was visited by nine hundred and eleven terrorists it is only fair that the shut it down
13:03 August 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
About ten years too late.
13:07 August 9, 2010 by lovelybug
"A group of 10 men from the mosque travelled to Pakistan or Afghanistan last year, probably to attend militant training camps, security officials said."

It is amazing sometimes to read the news. The security officials don't even know that group of 10 people went to Pakistan or Afghanistan. And arguing that they "probably" attended the militant camps.- Just amazing. :) . What is the guarantee that closing the mosque will not cause the people recruiting to other mosques? So then close the other mosque and then other and then other? Why not arrest the people who are involve and bring them to trial. Strange idea anyhow.
13:57 August 9, 2010 by marimay
But the molestation churches get to stay? hmmm...
14:09 August 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"But the molestation churches get to stay?"

That's different. They're good christians. They destroy life in more subtle ways.
14:15 August 9, 2010 by christmascorner
Sounds like some anti Christians terrorist thinking among the comments
15:00 August 9, 2010 by lovelybug
So may be we should report police that there is "anti Christians terrorist" postings on the Local. May be they will also close "the Local" so that it cannot be used for these purposes. LOL :) :)
15:09 August 9, 2010 by MonkeyMania
That'll teach em.
15:14 August 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
So the German cops think that closing a mosque and an Islamic cultural center will put an end to jihadist recruitment? Somebody ought to tell them about the internet.
16:13 August 9, 2010 by Avidror
I guess it would be better to maintain the mosque opened. I mean, if you close the mosque, other potential terrorists will change from that mosque to another. But if you maintains the mosque opened, you'll see more and more terrorists coming... not forever of course, because they're not idiots, but maybe for some time.

What have sexual harassment and aggressions within the Catholic Church to do with Islamic terrorism?

@ lovelybug

If security officials made public those terrorists attended training camps, maybe they were able to find proofs supporting such a theory.
16:56 August 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"What have sexual harassment and aggressions within the Catholic Church to do with Islamic terrorism?"

Both are crimes against humanity under the color of religion.
19:29 August 9, 2010 by wenddiver
I am sure the whle neighborhood will miss them.
00:47 August 10, 2010 by whatzup
Why not close *all* mosques and throw them all out. Ya think the folks in that mosque were the only moslems planning to exploit(ed) the freedoms of our democratic state? If you do I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. Germany is too addicted to cheap labor for its own good. The odd mosque surveillance and closing is just a gesture to the sheeple while their culture and and country are steadily overrun from within.
01:02 August 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
You all should read John LeCareé's new book, "A Most Wanted Man." It might give you a slightly different perspective on what's going on. For those of you who read, of course.
08:10 August 10, 2010 by wenddiver
@ whatzup- Sadly, I think you are calling that one correctly.
13:31 August 10, 2010 by lovelybug
@whatzup: Quite a dangerous proposition :) . There are lot of Germans who are also Muslims. What should we do with them?.

I think this is not the solution of the problem. Just check the German trade balance that how much money are they earning from Muslim countries. So throw all the Muslim out and they stop the oil supplies . What should we do then.

Secondly , it is not always the cheap labour. I don't know how much you about the German universities and international courses and students there. At least 30 to 40 % students are coming from Muslim countries and helping the German industries to grow later. What should we do with them? Any proposition :) :). By the way I am also German and Muslim. What is the suggestion for me :) :) hehehehehehheh
10:46 August 11, 2010 by adipk
First of all, I would like to clear that terrorism and religion "Islam" has no links. come on be open and dont believe on media propagated reports.

Now come to point, If officials has found such activity than its ok to close . because these idiot people are exploiting the rest of Muslim community. These devils only use the name of religions. just like people used other religions for there own purpose.

May God give wisdom and able to understand truth
12:08 August 11, 2010 by whatzup
I loved the LeCareé novel. In it John tries to paint Jhiadists as simple tools and the Americans as the bad guys. Nice try John, at least he got a holiday in Hamburg out of it.

I hope some of you have cottoned on to Prufrock as a professional disaffected Brit working for Peking or Moscow Center. He makes a living out of trying to spin the news on european sites like this and of course his comments always reflect the party line ie. the US as at the very best unhelpful. You've been outed now Prufrock, try the Deutche Welle instead.
00:25 August 12, 2010 by wenddiver
@whatzup- I was guessing some bitter old STASI wannabe, but your probably right, probably more like a never was. I never bought the old California Liberal thing. Too many posts for low energy foods like dry rice, sunflower seeds and raw pumpkin seeds.

Who ever heard of a US Attorney that had time to sit around reading fiction???? Most Americans got to many places to go and people to do, if you know what I mean, to sit around looking up passages in old little Red Books.

Something pitiful about defending Marxism in the 21st century though, kind of like the homeless guy that supports Napolean Bonnepart or is in favor of ending prohibition. Time has passed them by, sad in a way.
02:03 August 12, 2010 by Prufrock2010
You guys are a hoot. Keep guessing.
00:30 August 13, 2010 by whatzup
Keep guessing? I had you cold from the very beginning. Of course you can't admit it or Putin's stooges would cut you off. But keep yammering away about all the murdering americans in afghanistan and how we should all demand the troops be brought home. You can use the paycheck and we'd miss the silliness.
10:56 August 14, 2010 by SDogood
How's this for irony: Germany shuts down the very Mosque used for planning 9-11, while the US president embraces building a Mosque on the land where the attacks were carried out. Land that will now be viewed by Muslims as conquered land.
11:24 August 14, 2010 by whatzup
The president is wrong on this one. Islam is an agenda masquerading as a religion.
20:50 August 14, 2010 by Avidror
@ Prufrock2010

I know sexual harassment and aggressions within the Catholic Church are crimes. What I want to know is what they have to do with Islamic terrorism.

I mean, why are those crimes mentioned in the commentary section of a news article about Islamic terrorism? It would be like if an article dealing with sexual harassment and aggressions within the Catholic Church had been published and we began to comment about Islamic terrorism.

It just make nonsense.
03:08 August 15, 2010 by danamcmahon
This isnt your neighborhood relegious center, this mosque was used by the 911 masterminds. So why did it remain open for nine years, and Chancellor Merkel and President Bush who changed the constitutions of the world do anything about it.

But the chant of the new world is pointing the way to build a mosque on the back of the old. Convert us no way, I think to say you have not seen the demostrations yet.
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