Germany’s Lower Saxony imposes ban on DİTİB’s imams, refusing their service in prisons

Published 08.02.2019 00:07

The imams of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) will no longer be able to operate in the prisons in Germany's Lower Saxony.

Announcing the abolishment of the contract, which was signed with the DİTİB to provide religious services to the prisoners, the ministry said on Tuesday that information regarding the imams will be demanded from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution while voluntary workers will be able to continue their work.

According to Deutsche Welle Turkish, the state's justice minister, Barbara Havliza, claimed that the decision was made because the DİTİB could not manage being a religious community in Germany.

According to the information received from the state's justice ministry, the contract was enabling DİTİB to provide religious services in nine of the 14 prisons in the region. There are 19 imams in total who work in the prisons, three of whom were sent by the DİTİB while 12 others are working voluntarily.

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.

DİTİB runs more than 900 mosques. For many years, it was a partner in many government-supported counter-extremism and integration projects.

On September 2018, German domestic intelligence agency, BfV, reportedly decided to scrutinize the activities of the DİTİB and decide whether to put the organization under official surveillance or not.

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