THE HEAD of a German organisation has lashed out against a ban prohibiting members from distributing copies of the Koran after authorities accused it of recruiting jihadists to fight with Islamic State (ISIS).
The group, which calls itself True Religion (DWR), began distributing free copies and translations of the Islamic religious book alongside the slogan ‘LIES’ in 2011, but have been active for as long as 11 years.
Set up by Palestinian-preacher Ibrahim Abou Nagie, the organisation advocates a return to the “true Islam” and members have been recorded publicly denouncing democracy as the enemy to Islamic values.
But four weeks ago, the group was banned by German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere after he accused the organisation of radicalising young members .
True Religion has not been accused of any links to terrorism in Germany or on European soil.
But it has faced allegations that it has deliberately set out to radicalise young German men and women, and encourage them to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other extreme jihadist groups.
As many as 140 youths have already left for the Middle East to join the extremists after becoming involved with True Religion, according to the interior minister.
Mr de Maiziere said: “We don’t want terrorism in Germany, and we don’t want to export terrorism.”
Last month, police swooped on around 200 apartments, offices, mosques and a warehouse – where they seized numerous pieces of “evidence”, although no one was arrested during the raids.
The interior minister stressed the ban is not a move to ban Islamic beliefs, nor distribution of the Koran.
He said: “The ban is not for the Islam belief in general, muslim life has a secure place in German society, freedom of religion is for everyone.
“Handing out the Koran is not banned, since it’s like handing out the bible, but misusing this practice to propagate Islamism is banned.”
One of the places stormed during the raid’s was an apartment in a high-rise building in Bonn where the sect’s leader Mr Abou-Nagie, 52, lives.
He was hauled out of bed and off for questioning along with hate preacher Said El Emrani 34, who goes by the name Abu Dujana.
Now Mr Abou Nagie has announced he would be suing the German government over the ban on his Salafist organisation, which was due to have come into force on December 15.
A spokeswoman from the ministry confirmed a lawsuit had been filed on Thursday at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.
The religious leader – who was born in the Gaza Strip in 1964 and came to Germany in 1982 as an 18-year-old – sent a video message from Malaysia, mocking German politics.
He said: “Only in Germany do we have barbaric politicians who simply do not have moral values and are playing Rambo.”
It is unknown whether the imposition of the ban will go ahead while mr Abou Nagie’s challenge goes through the legal system.