Allegations of espionage: Turkish imams reportedly spied on teachers in NRW

Allegations of espionage : Turkish imams reportedly spied on teachers in NRW

Five teachers in NRW were reportedly spied on by imams belonging to a Turkish religious organization. Authorities call for clarification and consequences.

The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Ditib) is reported to have spied on at least five teachers at state schools in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). NRW state government confirmed that imams submitted “espionage lists” to Turkish consulates in Düsseldorf, Cologne and Munich. The lists contained the names of 28 persons and eleven institutions alleged to be supporters of the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The NRW Education Ministry said on Tuesday that five of the teachers on the list were instructors of Islamic religion in state schools. Police have informed the teachers of the spying, but they were not given the names of those who reported on them.

For months now, there have been accusations that Ditib has carried out espionage. The organization is said to have spied on worshipers in many mosques in Germany. The German Federal Prosecutor General is investigating the matter.

More than 250 Muslim worship communities in NRW are associated with Ditib. Integration expert Serap Güler (CDU) said, “ I expect a clear statement as to whether this organization is a reliable partner of the state of NRW or an instrument of Ankara and whether it is here to take care of the needs of Muslims or if it sees itself as the Turkish intelligence agency.” The Ditib organization did not respond to the allegations of spying. It referred to a previously stated position that it promised to investigate to the allegations.

(Orig. text: Matthias Korfmann)