Germany: Controversy after Taliban conference in Cologne mosque

A Taliban official giving a lecture at a mosque in Cologne. The news sparked controversy in Germany. The authorities have formally condemned the event and are looking for those responsible, but the same authorities have been criticized for not taking a firm enough stance against the Taliban's activities in the country.

Facade of the Central Mosque in Cologne, Germany, in 2021 (illustrative image). © INA FASSBENDER / AFP

By: RFI Follow


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The conference by a representative of the Taliban in Cologne is totally unacceptable. No one should give a platform to Islamist radicals," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser clearly condemned last Thursday's lecture by Abdul Bari Omar, an official in the Taliban's Ministry of Health in Afghanistan.

"Der Auftritt des Taliban-Vertreters in Köln ist vollkommen inakzeptabel und scharf zu verurteilen. Niemand darf radikalen Islamisten in Deutschland eine Bühne bieten. Die Taliban sind für massive Menschenrechtsverletzungen verantwortlich." 1/2

Bundesinnenministerin Nancy Faeser

— Bundesministerium des Innern und für Heimat (@BMI_Bund) November 18, 2023

Videos show a few dozen men and a very friendly atmosphere. The host extolled the merits of the Taliban regime and invited his fellow citizens to return to the country. During this event, organised by an Afghan association in the city, he was accused of having "disseminated propaganda" and "asked for donations for the Islamic regime", according to the daily Bild.

The meeting took place at a mosque in Cologne, run by the Turkish-controlled Ditib organization. She said she rented the building without knowing what event was taking place there, reports our correspondent in Berlin, Pascal Thibaut. Nancy Faeser called on Ditib on Monday to provide "explanations" on "how it is possible that these premises were used" in this way.

Strong emotion

When we heard that this conference was being held, there was a great deal of emotion in Germany. Yesterday, however, the North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Ministry criticised its Berlin counterpart and its strong condemnations. Herbert Reul stressed that his hands are tied: the Taliban are not considered a terrorist organization by the federal state and their supporters can act legally.

The Protestant Church, which had invited a Taliban leader to participate in a discussion in December, has since cancelled the protest. The Foreign Ministry said Abdul Bari Omar had not been granted a visa. It is possible that he got one from the Netherlands, where he attended a meeting of the World Health Organization in early November.

Read alsoGermany: Merkel sharply criticized for her handling of the Afghan file


And with AFP)

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