After 'Post' expose, Germany investigates terror in pro-Hezbollah center

Prosecutor opens probes but states pro-terrorism pledge is not criminal

By
August 31, 2019 21:59
4 minute read.
Lebanon's Hezbollah members hold party flags as they listen to their leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

Lebanon's Hezbollah members hold party flags as they listen to their leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressing his supporters via a screen during a rally marking the anniversary of the defeat of militants near the Lebanese-Syrian border, in al-Ain village, Lebanon August 25, 2019. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Germany is investigating possible terrorism activities within a pro-Hezbollah center in the country, following an expose last week by The Jerusalem Post.

However, a member's declaration that, "We are proud of terrorism," was not classified as targeting the federal republic.

The member recited a poem at the center in the German city of Münster, declaring: “We belong to the party of Ruhollah [Khomeini]. We have been accused of being terrorists – we are proud of terrorism.”

German media outlets reported on Friday that “according to a first preliminary assessment of the attorney general, there is no criminal relevance” and that a criminal case will not be formed against the Islamist. The authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Münster is located, said the Islamist’s pro-terrorism speech did not target their state or Germany.

However, a spokeswoman for police chief Hajo Kuhlisch told the Post that while there have been no charges, he expects that the mosque make a statement rejecting "every form of antisemitism and recognition of Israel’s right to exist," and that the center "distance itself from every form of violence and terrorism.”

Uwe Becker, commissioner of the Hessian state government for Jewish life and the fight against antisemitism, emailed the Post on Friday in response to the glorification of violence in the center.

“It is time to follow the example of others and to ban the terrorist organization Hezbollah in the EU and in Germany as a whole," he wrote.

Amid rising Jew-hatred in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has vehemently refused to outlaw Hezbollah in the federal republic, where 1,050 Hezbollah members and supporters raise funds and recruit new members, as well as spread jihadi and antisemitic ideologies.

When asked on Twitter if Germany’s Interior Ministry, run by the Christian Social Union politician Horst Seehofer, plans to ban Hezbollah, the  ministry (BMI) told the Post that is “pure speculation because regarding any prohibition considerations the BMI does generally not issue a statement. This applies regardless of whether there is reason to do so in individual cases.”

The police spokeswoman admitted that the speaker in the Islamic center delivered a talk that “glorified violence” and had a “warmongering” effect.

She said the statements from the speaker “could endanger the peaceful co-existence of different religions, including Sunnis and Shi’ite.”

The Islamic center is a Shi’ite center. According to the intelligence document reviewed by the Post, the number of Hezbollah members climbed from 105 in 2017 to 110 in 2018 in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Allgemeine, a regional newspaper in Münster, reported on Friday that the speaker who delivered the pro-terrorism talk is a 36-year-old member of the Islamic Center from Lebanon.

Hezbollah’s manifesto demands Israel’s “obliteration from existence” and German intelligence officials noted this year that “for more than 20 years, the Islamic Center has been a platform and meeting place for Hezbollah supporters in North Rhine-Westphalia and western Germany.”

Hezbollah operatives blew up an Israeli tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012, murdering five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver. Germany and the EU merely banned Hezbollah’s military arm in 2013, while its alleged political arm functions in Europe.

A member of the Islamic center, who was on the executive board of the center, told the Allgemeine that the mosque is a “peaceful institution.”

The man, who is a member of the city’s integration council, added that, "we have a different definition of terrorism than you.”

The Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an independent, nonpartisan press-monitoring organization, first revealed the video. The pro-terrorism video was posted on the Islamic center’s Facebook page in December 2018.

Becker said that “Hezbollah, the ‘Party of God,’ as a Lebanese-Shi’ite organization, represents a worldwide terror network whose economic foundation is fed by Iran’s financial aid and the proceeds of organized crime. In addition, the regime in Tehran also supports Hezbollah militarily, making it the extended arm of its own power interests in the Middle East and beyond.”

He added, “With its criminal structures ranging from smuggling to drug trafficking, the internationally operating terrorist network is not only a threat to stability and security in the Middle East, it is also a threat to the West, which is unfortunately all too often overlooked.

“One of the objectives of the terrorist organization is also the extermination of Israel, and it is here, at the latest, that we should come to the conclusion that such a grouping is to be banned. Unfortunately, however, Europe and Germany are not yet that far advanced and make a completely artificial distinction between the so-called military arm and the rest of this terrorist organization, which is defined as a political part.”

He noted, “This misunderstood consideration and the accompanying interpretation that Hezbollah exists almost twice results in an absurdity that opens the door to the further expansion of global terrorist and criminal structures and sends out the wrong political signal, namely that our repeatedly expressed reason of state towards Israel leaves too much room for misunderstood interpretation.”

Becker stressed that “No, Hezbollah does not exist in duplicate. Imagine if, in the historical retrospect of Germany, the NSDAP [Nazi party] and SA [Nazi party’s Storm Detachment] were divided into good and evil, as if the storm troops had been the problem, but the political part of the organization could be considered separately. This view of Hezbollah is not only absurd, but dangerous, because it has already given and continues to give too much free space to the work of this terrorist network in Europe.”

The US, Canada, the Netherlands, Britain, Israel and the Arab League have classified Hezbollah’s entire organization as a terrorist entity.


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