A mosque in the German city of Cologne was attacked yesterday by three unidentified people, who caused considerable damage to the service building of the mosque.
The Chorweiler Mosque, run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), was targeted by three perpetrators who caused serious physical damage and broke the donation boxes. Security cameras recorded that the attackers damaged the administration room and service building, broke the donation boxes and ran away. An investigation was launched into the attack.
Germany's Turkish-Muslim community last Wednesday had called on authorities to take stronger action against far-right extremists amid a growing number of threats and attacks targeting mosques and community institutions.
Kazım Türkmen, the chairman of the DİTİB, underlined that despite an increase in anti-Muslim crimes in recent years, perpetrators often go unpunished.
A bomb threat that was sent to the DİTİB last Tuesday forced an evacuation of Germany's largest mosque in Cologne, which is run by the group.
After searching the complex with bomb-sniffing dogs, the police found no bomb and the area was deemed safe.
Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia in recent years, triggered by the propaganda of far-right parties. More than 100 mosques and religious institutions were attacked in 2018.
Furthermore, police recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year. At least 54 Muslims were injured in these attacks, which were carried out mostly by far-right extremists.
The attacks come as anti-Muslim groups gaining more political ground and power in Europe, as well as deadly assaults on mosques in Western countries, including the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand this March which took 51 lives and caused many serious injuries.
The DİTİB has a total of 857 mosques in Germany, where almost a 1,000 imams work. Most of the imams are appointed by Turkey and after working for four years in Germany, return back to Turkey. The salaries of these DİTİB imams are paid by Turkey.
The Cologne-based DİTİB is one of the largest Islamic organizations in Germany. It was founded in 1984 as a branch of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Turkey's top religious body.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin. Many Germans of Turkish descent are second and third-generation descendants of Turkish immigrants who moved to the country during the 1960s.
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