Berlin (dpa) – Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has banned the Salafist association Ansaar International and all offshoots of the Islamist association.
His ministry said the ban was enforced early Wednesday morning with searches and seizures in ten states. According to the first information, objects and people in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse had been affected.
To justify the ban, the Interior Ministry said Ansaar was raising money with the intention of passing it on to terrorist groups abroad, particularly the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, Palestinian Hamas and Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Part of the support directly benefits this association. Sometimes aid projects are supported, “which, however, are directly part of the field of activity of the relevant terrorist organization”.
The ministry also believes that the group’s conversion activities are in violation of constitutional order. Here “enemies of a world order are constantly being created that protects the human dignity of people of different faiths”. Children from Germany would be sent to the facilities set up abroad by Ansaar “to internalize Salafist-extremist content and bring it back to Germany.”
“If you want to fight terror, you have to dry up your money sources,” Seehofer said, as Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter wrote in the short Twitter messaging service. The starting point for the ban was a large-scale raid on the network in April 2019, in which extensive material was seized. Ansaar International is headquartered in Düsseldorf, the sub-organization WWR-Help in Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia. About half of the 90 people and objects affected at the time were in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The network of associations that is now banned also includes the Änis Ben-Hatira Foundation, named after the German-Tunisian footballer, as well as the Somali Information and Advice Committee in Darmstadt and the surrounding area, the women’s rights association ANS. Justice, “Ummashop” and Helpstore Secondhand UG as well as Better World Appeal. The Interior Ministry found that donors were being deceived by the false claim that the funds were used solely for humanitarian purposes.
In April this year, apartments in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria were searched in connection with the prohibition procedure on suspicion of terrorist financing. The suspicion is directed against three suspects between the ages of 32 and 40, the Düsseldorf Public Prosecution Service said at the time on request. Investigate suspected fraud and infidelity. One of the defendants is a lawyer from Düsseldorf.