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Gulf minister warns Germany to keep better control over its mosques

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Gulf minister warns Germany to keep better control over its mosques
Sheikh Nahjan Mubarak al Nahjan. Photo: DPA
10:45 CET+01:00
Sheikh Nahjan Mubarak al Nahjan, the minister for tolerance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has said that inadequate surveillance of mosques has led to Islamist terrorism in Germany.

“You can’t just leave a mosque open and allow anyone to go there and to preach. You need to have licences,” said al Nahjan in an interview with DPA.

He added that the problem existed in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, arguing that Muslims were becoming radicalized in mosques where the authorities were not exerting strong enough control.

“We have always offered our help, we have always said we would train people,” said al Nahjan, adding that no European country had ever accepted the offer.

In the authoritarian UAE, mosques are comprehensively controlled by the authorities. The tiny oil-rich Gulf state claims that the extensive powers it has given to its secret services have allowed it to prevent terror attacks by radical organizations such as Isis.

“We also think that something needs to change in Europe,” said al Nahjan. He said that European states had good intentions in allowing “these people” to set up their own mosques, but argued it was necessary that people have training in Islam and a licence before they are allowed to preach.

“After all no one is allowed to simply go into a church in Europe and preach.”

In Germany the state does not interfere in the selection of preachers at mosques, nor do mosques need a licence in order to open.

Nonetheless, Germany’s intelligence agencies are actively surveilling dozens of mosques across the country, while police have closed down some of the most radical Muslim places of prayer over the past year.

After an Islamist terrorist drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December last year, killing 12 people, Berlin authorities closed down a mosque in the north of the city which the terrorist was known to have attended.

Also last year, police in Lower Saxony arrested a man who was suspected of being Isis’ “ambassador” in Germany. The man, known as Abu Walaa, preached at a mosque in the town of Hildesheim.

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