German police have cracked down on an Islamist group suspected of working as an underground recruiting force for the Islamic State (Daesh).
Nearly 200 raids were conducted across Germany this morning on mosques and facilities associated with the DWR “True Religion” organization, an Islamist group that has been under German government surveillance for months.
The group, which is reportedly known for dispersing German-language copies of the Quran to bystanders in major German cities was banned by German authorities this morning for promoting extremism.
Under the backdrop of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in Germany, however, authorities were careful to note they were not targeting the group for its faith, but rather for its “work to foster violence.”
“The organization brings Islamic jihadists together under the pretext of the harmless distribution of the Quran” German interior minister Thomas de Maizière said to reporters in Berlin.
“The translations of the Quran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies,” he went on to say. “Teenagers are being radicalized with conspiracy theories.”
According to de Maizière, DWR “True Religion” has extensive ties to Daesh, with 140 of DWR’s supporters having left Germany to to join the group in Syria and Iraq.
While authorities confiscated “propaganda” and cash assets from the group, they found no information suggesting it was planning any specific attacks on German soil. No arrests were made during the raids.
Immigration policy has been a topic of much dispute in Germany over the past year, with a growing number of citizens expressing anti-Muslim sentiments.
After accepting nearly a million immigrants in 2016, mostly Muslim, a survey in June found that 40% of Germans believe Muslims should be forbidden from entering the country.
A report from Amnesty International in the same month found that hate crimes, including racist crimes against immigrants, were surging in Germany, up 87% in recent years.