Pressure on Hamburg state cooperation with Iranian extremists increases

Photo credits: picture alliance / Geisler-Fotopress

According to the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH) is an outpost of the Iranian mullahs’ government – and yet it is involved in a state treaty with the city. The conservative party CDU.

Since November 2012, the city of Hamburg is cooperating with the umbrella organization Schura, Council of Islamic Communities, via a state treaty – and thus also to its member, the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH). The Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution assesses the IZH as an outpost of the Iranian mullahs’ government in Europe, “Iranian Islamists” are at work there.

The German interior intelligence repeatedly presents evidence that the mosque is being controlled by Tehran. Despite its warnings, the contract is still valid and is to be evaluated this November. Due to the protests in Iran and the regime’s brutal actions against the demonstrators, the topic is gaining momentum again in the northern metropolis as well. Especially under the background of the violent suppression of the protests taking place in Iran, calls for the exclusion of the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH) from the Council of Islamic Communities (Shura) are also growing louder in the Hamburg Social Democratic Party (SPD), the leading political force in the city state with major Peter Tschentscher, successor of now German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. For the party conference at the beginning of November, there is a corresponding application from an SPD regional district entity. “We are contacting the Schura Hamburg e.V. and asking them to exclude the Islamic Center Hamburg from the Schura,” it says.

Danial Ilkhanipour, social democrat and member of parliament and deputy district chairman in Eimsbüttel, said to a German journalist: “The link between the IZH and the Iranian regime, which shoots at its children, is unbearable.” Armita Kazemi, who is also a member of the SPD state executive, added: “An exclusion of the IZH is urgently needed.”

The Hamburg CDU has long been calling for the state treaty with the Schura umbrella organization to be suspended as long as the IZH plays a role there. Party leader Dennis Thering said: “It is almost unbearable that the SPD and the Greens have tolerated anti-Semitic contractual partners for years and have held a protective hand over them.” The misunderstood tolerance of those responsible in politics must be ended.

Thering continues: “Peter Tschentscher must finally find the courage to end this farce and suspend the contracts immediately. As mayor, he has a duty to protect our city from such groups of anti-Semites, terrorist supporters and anti-democrats.”

With the agreement in 2012, the city granted the associations more rights. In return, they expressly committed themselves to the German constitution, took on integration tasks and fought against radicalism, also financed with federal and state funds.

The IZH repeatedly violated the commitment to loyalty to the constitution – for example, with visits by individual representatives to the anti-Semitic Al Quds Day or mourning rallies for the Iranian general and top terrorist Qasem Soleimani. The conservatives and liberals in parliament have therefore long been calling for the contract to be terminated.

The Hamburg Greens now making an exclusion of the IZH a condition for continuing the agreement. At the end of September, state chairwoman Maryam Blumenthal, who was born in Iran herself, set the tone in an interview with Welt newspaper: “The focus is on the question of whether the IZH can continue to play a role in connection with the contracts with the city of Hamburg.” And further: “Currently we are working on a motion for our party congress in November that will answer this question clearly and unequivocally in the negative.”

The Islamic umbrella organization Shura also distances itself from its members. Schura chairman Fatih Yildiz says in an interview that an arbitration commission is currently discussing whether the membership of the IZH should be suspended for the time being. “That will be decided soon.” The next step could also be an exclusion. “However, our 63 members have to decide about this,” said Yildiz. A two-thirds majority is required for an exclusion to take effect.

When asked, the Hamburg government said that it had always been made clear that efforts against the free-democratic basic order would not be tolerated. The evaluation of the state treaty is not yet complete, a report to the citizenship with evaluations will be completed this year.

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