An asylum home in the Enkheim district of Frankfurt has drawn criticism in German media for its placement near a mosque with known radical ties, reported Breitbart.
The Abu Hanifa mosque is frequented by Muslim asylum seekers housed in the Enkheim facility, which has 74 male residents, 14 of whom are minors. Most are Muslim. The mosque also serves as an Afghan cultural center.
But according to the state security police force in Frankfurt, the mosque is used by recruiters for the Islamic State terrorist organization.
The mosque is headed by Imam Said Khobaib Sadat, who in 2007 was connected to the arrest of three men who plotted to carry out a bombing attack. Police in Frankfurt also allegedly found the contact information of ISIS members on his daughter’s cellphone.
An investigation into the mosque is reportedly ongoing.
So why place an asylum seekers center near a potentially radical mosque? Whether accidental or deliberate, the security lapse still occurred. Why not provide the asylum seekers with access to clergy who are known to promote tolerant and inclusive forms of Islam?
The decision is especially perplexing in the light of a recent investigative report by Reuters. They spoke with a dozen Syrians in six cities who immigrated to Germany and now attend Arab mosques in Germany, which they say they find far too conservative.
They reported being criticized for their dress, level of piety and lifestyle choices by members of the mosques. Most mosques in Germany are Turkish, so religious Muslims among the 890,000 asylum seekers from mostly Arabic countries prefer to attend a mosque where people speak Arabic. Yet there are fewer Arabic mosques and those that do exist frequently belong to the puritan Salafist sect and may be funded by Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states.
“Unfortunately it is true that a large majority of Arabic-speaking mosques are more conservative than Turkish mosques,” Professor Mouhannad Khorchide, head of the Center for Islamic Theology at Muenster University told Reuters.
“How can one absorb these people if they are interested in their religion? When there is a shortage of offers the Salafists try to fill the gap.”
It is ridiculous to assert that refugees will not succumb to radicalization and then house them next to a radical mosque, with all the attendant national security risks of that decision. Especially when the refugees, themselves, are complaining that mosques in Germany are too radical.
It also serves as a reminder that people fleeing jihadist violence are not likely to be attracted to that ideology.
Another factor is the impact this has on far-right extremism, which has been on the rise. Failure on the government’s part to properly address concerns over Islamic radicalism can and will be used as recruitment material by extreme groups who want all Muslims gone from Germany. A mosque and Islamic convention center in Dresden, for example, was bombed at the end of September in what the police suspect was a xenophobic hate crime.
In such a tense environment, the government needs to be lessening tensions, not exacerbating them.
If the German state is interested in successfully integrating the hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim asylum seekers who have arrived in the country of late, they need to overhaul the services offered to new arrivals.
A good start would be to move the Enkheim asylum home to a better location.